Hong Kong’s financial services and treasury secretary, Christopher Hui, told the StartmeupHK Festival’s Virtual FinTech Forum today that a proper regulatory system for cryptocurrencies and virtual assets can facilitate development, protect investors and achieve international regulatory standards. He was commenting on a regulatory plan that would get almost all Hong Kongers out of crypto trading.

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“We believe it will further facilitate the development of the virtual assets industry in Hong Kong by leveraging the world-class regulatory framework by introducing mandatory requirements to protect investors, prohibit market manipulation, and protect against money laundering and terrorist financing,” Hui said.

Hui’s comments came after the announcement of the results of a public meeting on legislative proposals to improve anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulations in the city.

Proposed changes include requiring businesses wishing to operate virtual asset exchanges to apply for a license from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission and the ability to obtain licenses to foreign companies as virtual asset service providers. Perhaps most controversial, investors will be banned from trading cryptocurrencies unless they are worth at least $ 1 million, which is a restriction that excludes the vast majority of the city’s population and will shut down many operating crypto exchanges.

The Hong Kong government plans to submit an amendment bill based on the consultation results of the Legislative Council’s 2021-22 session.

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