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Hong Kong proposes allowing retail trade in cryptocurrencies

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HONG KONG (Reuters) – The Hong Kong government has proposed allowing individual investors to trade cryptocurrencies and funds traded on cryptocurrency exchanges.

The city, which previously proposed restricting crypto trading to professional investors, has been heavily criticized for stifling innovation with its planned rules for digital assets, prompting many startups to move to Singapore and Dubai. We are encouraging them to move to other markets such as

The authorities will begin a consultation process to give retail investors an “appropriate degree of access” to virtual assets, Treasury Secretary Paul Chan said in a keynote address broadcast to the Hong Kong Fintech Week conference.

“We want to make our policy stance clear to the global market to demonstrate our determination to explore fintech together with the global crypto-asset community,” he said.

The government will also review property rights for tokenized assets and consider legalizing so-called smart contracts. This is a self-executing transaction whose outcome depends on pre-programmed inputs.

These moves are likely to pave the way for real estate security token offerings (STOs), industry insiders said. STOs are blockchain-based tokens that represent ownership or entitle holders to income or dividends generated from real assets.

Andy Mahan, chief compliance officer for Asia Pacific at U.S. crypto exchange Gemini, said the latest announcement could bring Hong Kong rules on par with Singapore rules.

“Industry players want consistency in the global regulatory regime, otherwise there will be opportunities for bad actors to take advantage of loopholes in less stringent jurisdictions,” he said.

Singapore allows retail investors to trade in cryptocurrencies, but the central bank has discouraged the general public from speculative trading in cryptocurrencies and has restricted advertising of cryptocurrency services in public places. I have also proposed new measures.

Hong Kong’s recent move to legalize retail trading of cryptocurrencies also further separates Hong Kong from mainland China, which has outright banned cryptocurrency trading.

“This is a positive move that sends a strong signal that Hong Kong is taking a different approach to regulating its capital markets,” said Adrian Wang, CEO of crypto brokerage Metalpha. rice field.

($1 = 7.8492 HKD)

(This article has been refiled to correct the spelling of the company name in the last paragraph to Metalpha)

Reported by Georgina Lee. Additional reporting by Anshuman Daga. Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and Edwina Gibbs

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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