Exchanges warn that Hong Kong’s crypto retail trader ban could backfire

Crypto industry actors in Hong Kong have been trying to push back against a forthcoming law that would restrict legal cryptocurrency trading to professional investors, locking out 93% of the local population from the market.

In comments to the South China Morning Post published on Feb. 15, industry body Global Digital Finance warned that the proposed law would be likely to push retail traders to embrace unregulated platforms. Global Digital Finance represents cryptocurrency exchanges such as BitMEX, Huobi, Coinbase and OKCoin, and has been at the forefront of industry efforts to push back against the forthcoming legislation.

Hong Kong’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau first published the proposal in Nov. 2020, as part of a bid to toughen Anti-Money Laundering and counterterrorist financing measures. The move aligns with efforts to bring domestic regulations into line with recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF. 

Yet the Bureau’s proposal exceeds the requirements of the FATF’s framework, echoing instead the tough

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