Hong Kong is taking steps to reassure businesses that the city’s official stance on cryptocurrencies is distinct from that of mainland China.

And it is now considering allowing exchanges and other intermediaries to sell directly to retail investors as part of its efforts to reintroduce fintech businesses.

During a panel discussion held by InvestHK on October 17, Elizabeth Wong, director of licensing and head of the fintech unit of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), said,

“The one country, two systems principle forms the basic foundation to Hong Kong’s financial markets, and the fact that the city can introduce its own bill to regulate cryptocurrencies shows just how separate Hong Kong is from the mainland.” 

According to Wong, the SFC is currently considering enabling ordinary investors to “directly invest in virtual assets.” 

This would be a departure from the SFC’s previous policy, which restricted crypto trading on centralized exchanges to professional investors, defined as those with a portfolio worth at least HK$8 million (US$1 million).

Officials announced last week that the city will present a new policy statement on cryptocurrencies during the next Fintech Week to demonstrate its “goal of turning Hong Kong into a worldwide virtual assets centre.” 

It will also make the city’s position on virtual assets “clear to global markets,” according to the Fintech Week organizers.

Individuals can buy and sell digital assets in Hong Kong, unlike on the Chinese mainland. 

However, Beijing’s clarification last year that crypto transactions on the mainland are illegal, coming months after it launched a crackdown on bitcoin mining, prompted concerns about the industry’s future in Asia’s financial center. Hong Kong related stocks have plunged.