Hong Kong Heads Toward Regulation Approach on Cryptocurrencies

The outgoing chairman of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission said it needs to work to regulate – not ban – cryptocurrencies.

During his last interview as the outgoing SFC chairman, Carlson Tong Ka-shing, made the point that while others may want to do it, a ban on cryptocurrency trading “will not work in today’s internet world when trading can cross national boundaries. Even if we were to ban them, transactions can still be easily conducted via platforms in overseas markets.”

This is an even more significant statement considering that Mainland China has instituted a 100% ban on cryptocurrencies.

Tong went on to say that cryptocurrencies’ unique set of features makes any kind of regulation challenging. “We have to carefully consider the regulatory approach for these platforms because they are new technology and may not qualify as securities,” he said. “They do not fit in the custodian, audit or valuation requirements, for instance, normally expected under the Securities and Futures Ordinance.”

Those in the industry were optimistic about the new comments. As Angelina Kwan, chief operating officer of the Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange (BitMEX) said in a recent interview, “We hope the guidelines or regulations being considered will keep pace with market developments. The U.S. has introduced regulations over cryptocurrency and there are futures products being traded by the CME Group and the CBOT. This shows that a regulatory authority can help to develop a new industry.”


In Mainland China, it does look like authorities there are still intent on blocking all cryptocurrency transactions. Alipay, the giant payment solutions company within, very recently shut down all over-the-counter (OTC) Bitcoin trades on its payment platform.