While Hong Kong has complied with China’s cryptocurrency policy, it looks like retail trading will be permitted again in the coming months. This position contrasts with that of China, which is always opposed to cryptocurrencies.
Hong Kong is about to open up to cryptocurrencies
According to information reported by our colleagues at Bloomberg, Hong Kong could review its policy towards cryptocurrencies by authorizing trading again under certain conditions. If this measure comes to an end, the city would place itself in opposition to China, to which it is still attached by the status of “special administrative region” (SAR), although it enjoys a certain freedom of action.
However, these potential measures remain ambiguous, as it is said that retail trading will be authorized without specifically approving cryptocurrencies, which is subject to interpretation.
The details of these consultations are yet to be finalized, but a licensing program should be launched next March to allow the platforms to operate in full compliance.
Towards a gradual reopening of China?
When China banned cryptocurrencies for the eleventh time in September 2021, part of the ecosystem believed that the country would eventually reverse its position. Although it is still too early to judge, it is a point of view developed at length by Arthur Hayes on the BitMex blog:
But, you have to remember that Hong Kong is the proxy through which China interacts with the world. Is this a harbinger of a reboot of Chinese crypto dominance? Will Chinese capital find its way to global crypto markets via Hong Kong?
In this essay, he looks back at the many leading players in our ecosystem who originally emerged in China. In particular, he takes the example of Bitfinex and its close ties to Tether, the issuer of the USDT stablecoin. Today, the exchange is registered in the British Virgin Islands but originated in Hong Kong.
We also have to mention Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the Chinese-Canadian founder of Binance. Indeed, where the exchange originated has always been up for debate, although it is believed to be native to China. Cryptocurrency platform FTX, too, was headquartered in Hong Kong in the past.
Through its policy, China has thus deprived itself of a reserve of talent and financial resources. It is therefore likely to reverse its position, as the cryptocurrency ecosystem grows more and more in the global economy.
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