Hong Kong is considering the use of cryptocurrencies in retail trade

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The Hong Kong government appears to be considering allowing retail transactions with cryptocurrencies in a move that will help China’s Special Administrative Region regain its title of “fintech hub”.

Hong Kong, after proposing to restrict cryptocurrency trading for professional investors, has faced strong criticism for its attitude towards innovation, resulting in a number of start-ups relocating to markets such as Singapore and Dubai.

Hong Kong authorities will launch a consultation process on giving retail investors “an appropriate degree of access” to digital assets, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan in a keynote speech broadcast at Hong Kong’s Fintech Week conference.

“We want to make our policy stance clear in the global marketplace to show our determination to explore financial media technology with the global digital asset community,” he said.

The government will also review property rights for assets with vouchers and will investigate the legalisation of so-called smart contracts.

Legalizing the use of cryptocurrencies in retail will differentiate Hong Kong from mainland China, which has imposed a ban on crypto trading.

“This is a positive move as it sends a strong signal that Hong Kong is taking a different approach to its capital market regulation,” said Adrian Wang, managing director of crypto brokerage Metalpha.

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