China’s grip over the once very friendly bitcoin jurisdiction seems to be extending with an industry body Global Digital Finance warning Hong Kong against a proposed ban of bitcoin retail investors.
“Restricting cryptocurrency trading to professional investors only is different to what we have seen in other jurisdictions such as Singapore, the UK, and the US, where retail investors can buy and sell virtual assets,” said Malcolm Wright, chair of Global Digital Finance’s Advisory Council.
Hong Kong’s financial services authority has proposed new anti-money laundering regulations requiring licensing for crypto exchanges.
However they go far beyond any AML regime to restrict any such granted license as they state:
“At the initial stage, the licensed VASP should only offer services to professional investors. The SFC will continue to monitor the market and reconsider its position as the market becomes more mature in the future.”
A “professional” investor is anyone with HK$8 million, about $1 million, with this proposal so shutting out most ordinary Hong Kongers.
That’s at a time when China has imposed a banking blockade on cryptos, with Hong Kong competing until recently for that Chinese bitcoin business.
As China extends its grip on the city state, however, Hong Kong is now considering this very unusual position with the government there planning to present a bill based on the retail ban proposal later this year.