Hong Kong’s Finance Regulator Says ‘Blocks are Ready’ to Grow Digital Asset Ecosystem

Coindesk | Lavender Au | Jan 10, 2023

Christopher Hui Hong Kong fintech week - Hong Kong’s Finance Regulator Says 'Blocks are Ready' to Grow Digital Asset Ecosystem

Image: Christopher Hui, Hong Kong Fintech Week

While the industry has known for a while that a regulatory framework was incoming, it did not expect the shift in stance. Many of the stalls and panels at FinTech Week were related to the metaverse, and top regulators came out in force to advocate for the city’s comeback as a crypto hub, among which Hui was the most prominent.

  • Crypto currently falls under several regulators in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is looking into stablecoins, the Securities and Futures Commission takes on enforcement responsibilities.

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  • Christopher Hui:  The department Hui heads, FSTB, lays down the more macro approach to regulation. The approach it seems to be taking is to place crypto within financial regulation, and signal an opening of areas up for discussion such as allowing retail investors under the incoming regulatory framework, which was previously a no.
    • Hui’s stature and his appearance at Hong Kong FinTech Week panels speaking on crypto give clear signals that Hong Kong’s regulators view it as part of the city’s economic future.
    • Hui reiterated views voiced by other high profile figures in Hong Kong’s regulatory bodies, who see crypto as fitting into mainstream finance. When asked what he thinks about crypto’s founding ideals, Hui said he considers crypto to be more an investment instrument than a bid for freedom from fiat currency.

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  • He said that he’s most excited about the tokenization of green bonds, which makes what can be a cumbersome process of issuance and investment far more streamlined.  Hong Kong has already issued $10 billion in green bonds in multiple currencies, including the U.S. dollar, euro and renminbi. The pilot will focus on institutions and the whole value chain from issuance to settlement, asset servicing, secondary trading and retention.
  • With the incoming VASP regime and consultations, Hui said that the “blocks are ready” to build the ecosystem. “We are more definitely clear in terms of where we stand,” he said, calling it a “more solid footing.”

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