Hong Kong authorities have launched a public consultation on legislative proposals to introduce a licensing regime for providers of over-the-counter (OTC) virtual asset (VA) trading services.
According to the Hong Kong government, some fraud cases have shown the involvement of VA OTC operators, hence the need to regulate OTC services under AMLO to reduce money laundering and financing risks.
The consultation proposes requiring a license from the Commissioner of Customs and Excise (CCE) for any person carrying on a business providing spot trading services for any virtual assets for money in Hong Kong. In addition, the government is proposing coverage of all VA over-the-counter services, giving CCE oversight authority over licensees’ anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing activities. The consultation will last two months until April 12, 2024.
Last October, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission announced that it was updating its policy on virtual currency sales and related requirements due to market events and requests for sides of the industry.
According to the department’s new standards, virtual assets are treated as complex products and are subject to the same rules as similar financial products. The commission cites cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and products issued outside of Hong Kong as examples of complex products.