Hong Kong crypto group claims new law will limit people’s bitcoin access. The Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong is appealing to regulators to consider the effect of incoming laws on the digital innovation agenda of the region. In November, the Hong Kong government announced plans to ban retail cryptocurrency trading as part of a wider crackdown on money laundering.
According to the South China Morning Post on Dec. 24, the proposed crypto regulations could also extend to Bitcoin automated teller machines.
In a consultation paper published in November, the Financial Services and Treasury Bureau disclosed that it also had plans to regulate Bitcoin ATMs. Data from CoinAtmRadar shows Hong Kong is home to 62 Bitcoin ATMs.
Speaking to SCMP, Leo Weese, co-founder of the association, spoke against the proposed crypto regulations, stating “To restrict retail individuals from accessing Bitcoin would be overshooting the government’s goals of promoting innovation, and financial inclusion.”
If passed, the new regulatory regime would significantly expand the city’s crypto licensing architecture. At present, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission only mandates registration for exchanges that list crypto securities or futures products.
Earlier in December, fidelity-backed digital assets platform OSL was officially licenced by the Hong Kong SFC. The news finalised the previous announcement by the SFC in August, which decided in principle at that time to grant a licence to OSL pending a review process.
The proposed legislation also parallels some of the tougher mandates in effect in mainland China, where crypto trading is banned. Hong Kong is home to several major crypto trading services including Bitfinex and FTX, with others like OKEx and Huobi maintaining regional offices in the territory.