Hong Kong’s Growing Crypto Adoption
Hong Kong has been making strides in cryptocurrency adoption, with some Chinese state-affiliated banks opening accounts to serve crypto clients and CPIC Investment Management, a China government-backed firm, launching two cryptocurrency funds in April. However, these developments do not signal any change in mainland China’s anti-crypto stance or its approach to regulating Bitcoin.
CPIC CEO Chenggang Zhou’s Insight
Chenggang Zhou, CEO of CPIC Investment Management, states that the Chinese government’s backing of the firm does not imply any changes in mainland regulatory regulations or the government’s attitude toward crypto. He explains that CPIC Investment Management operates as a Hong Kong entity, regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission, which allows them to invest in cryptocurrencies without breaching any regulations or laws.
China’s Unwavering Anti-Crypto Stance
Zhou notes that China has maintained its anti-crypto stance for a long time, even before banning crypto entirely in September 2021. He does not expect the local government to change its crypto policies in the foreseeable future.
David Lesperance, founder of Lesperance & Associates, echoes Zhou’s sentiment, stating that it is hard to imagine China loosening its control over the ability for Chinese nationals to use crypto. Lesperance highlights that the crypto market in mainland China remains effectively shut down, raising enforcement concerns about Chinese clients using Hong Kong exchanges to get money out of China.
Strict KYC Policies on Hong Kong Crypto Exchanges
Zhou also emphasizes that crypto exchanges in Hong Kong have strict Know Your Customer (KYC) policies, aiming to restrict mainland Chinese investors on their platforms. He does not expect any licensed crypto exchanges in Hong Kong to accept onshore mainland citizens to trade in the exchanges.
In conclusion, the developments in Hong Kong’s cryptocurrency market should not be interpreted as a sign of a shift in mainland China’s strict regulatory stance on crypto. The Chinese government is likely to maintain its anti-crypto policies in the foreseeable future, even as Hong Kong embraces the opportunities presented by the cryptocurrency industry. It is important to understand that the regulatory environment in Hong Kong is distinct from that of mainland China, and the two should not be conflated. As crypto exchanges in Hong Kong continue to implement strict KYC policies, it is evident that the separation between the markets will persist, keeping mainland Chinese investors at bay.