Hong Kong virtual asset regulation – 2022 wrap-up and what to expect in the new year

Have you been keeping up to date with the latest virtual asset (VA) developments in Hong Kong? They continue to come thick and fast. We set out below a wrap-up of the most recent developments, including in relation to the new virtual asset service provider (VASP) licensing regime, warnings from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (AMLO), and what to expect in the new year. Continue reading

Webinar: Panel discussion – Virtual asset regulatory developments and highlights from Hong Kong and Singapore Fintech Week

Both the Hong Kong and Singapore regulators have announced further developments and guidance in relation to the regulation of virtual asset (VA)-related products and services. Hong Kong is proposing to recalibrate its existing legal and regulatory regimes to enable greater access to VA by retail investors, while Singapore has launched consultations on stablecoin-related activities and digital payment token services.

Back by popular demand, part 2 of our panel discussion on virtual asset regulation will be held on Monday, 14 November 2022 from 3pm to 4pm (HKT/SGT).

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Retail access for virtual assets – risky business or radical open-mindedness?

Hong Kong’s Fintech Week 2022 began with a crypto-infused bang with keynote speeches from the Government and financial regulators embracing the financial innovation made possible by virtual assets (VAs). Recognising that VAs are here to stay, Hong Kong has proposed to recalibrate the existing legal and regulatory regimes, with a focus on enabling greater access by retail investors to VA-related products and services while mitigating attendant risk. We also anticipate developments in the near future around the property rights of tokenised assets and stablecoins. Continue reading

Webinar: Panel discussion – New Hong Kong licensing regime for VASPs

The new licensing regime for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) will significantly impact the virtual asset industry in Hong Kong. Once in force, any person who seeks to carry on a business of providing a virtual asset service (currently limited to operating a virtual asset exchange) will be required to apply to the Securities and Futures Commission for a licence.

On Tuesday, 23 August 2022 from 1pm to 2pm (Hong Kong/Singapore time), our Asia Financial Services Regulatory Partners, Hannah Cassidy and Natalie Curtis, will be joined by Prosynergy Consulting Limited’s Managing Director, Louie Lee, ARTA TechFin Corporation Limited’s CEO (Blockchain Finance), Simon Au Yeung, and MaiCapital Limited’s Managing Partner, Marco Lim, to provide an update on the new VASP licensing regime and discuss the practical issues for operators in the virtual asset industry under the new licensing regime.

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Hong Kong VASP licensing regime to take effect on 1 March 2023

The government acknowledges that the VASP licensing regime will be more rigorous and comprehensive than those in Singapore, the UK and Japan.

The Hong Kong government has gazetted amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (AMLO) to enhance Hong Kong’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) regulatory regime. The amendments will be introduced into the Legislative Council (LegCo) for first reading on 6 July 2022. Continue reading

Crypto assets go mainstream – new SFC and HKMA guidance for intermediaries and banks on virtual asset-related activities

This year has seen significant developments in Hong Kong as detailed regulatory guidance has been issued to enable institutions to navigate the evolving crypto-asset landscape. With increasing demand to provide virtual asset (VA)-related services and products, the guidance is a welcome step for the industry as it seeks to clarify what firms are able to do in this fast-changing area. In this article, we explore the detailed, and often complex, requirements on intermediaries and banks that wish to engage in VA-related activities. Continue reading

Hong Kong FSTB finalises principles for regulating virtual asset service providers and other AML/CFT regulatory enhancements

The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) has recently published the conclusions to its consultation on proposals to enhance anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) regulation in Hong Kong, via amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (AMLO). Continue reading