Hong Kong crypto advocates say impending cryptocurrency regulations could prevent citizens from using Bitcoin ATMs.
The Hong Kong Bitcoin Association is calling on regulators to consider the impact of the laws being addressed on the city’s digital innovation agenda. In November, the Hong Kong government announced plans to ban individual cryptocurrency trading as part of wider money laundering measures.
According to the South China Morning Post on December 24, proposed crypto regulations could also include Bitcoin automatic withdrawal machines.
In a consultation document published in November, the Financial Services and Treasury Bureau also revealed plans to regulate Bitcoin ATMs. Data from CoinAtmRadar shows that Hong Kong hosts 62 Bitcoin ATMs.
Speaking to SCMP, the association’s co-founder Leo Weese opposed the proposed crypto regulations and said:
Restricting individual investors’ access to Bitcoin will exceed the government’s goals of promoting innovation and financial inclusion.
If the law is passed, the new regulatory regime will significantly expand the city’s crypto licensing architecture. Currently, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission requires registration with exchanges that only list crypto-securities or futures products.
In early December, Fidelity-powered digital assets platform OSL was officially licensed by the Hong Kong SFC. The news concluded the SFC’s previous announcement in August by accepting in principle to grant a license to OSL, which is awaiting a review process.
The proposed laws also reflect some of the stricter rules in place in mainland China, where crypto trading is prohibited. Hong Kong hosts many major crypto trading services, including Bitfinex and FTX, and others like OKEx and Huobi have offices in the area.