Hong Kong pressures HSBC and Standard Chartered to serve crypto customers.

The banking regulator in Hong Kong has reportedly pressured major financial services companies, including HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank, to accept crypto exchanges as clients, in an effort to embrace the crypto revolution in the country. According to a report from the Financial Times, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has questioned these banks, including the Bank of China, about their refusal to accept crypto exchanges as clients. The regulator had already taken a proactive stance on the matter just weeks before last month’s meeting, urging financial institutions to adopt an ambitious strategy toward emerging sectors like the crypto market. The letter explicitly mandated the banks to facilitate the growth of virtual asset service providers (VASPs) and other crypto companies by ensuring they have access to essential banking services.

The regulator encouraged the banks not to be afraid of servicing VASPs, despite skepticism from senior executives within the traditional banking system. This skepticism poses a significant challenge to the country’s vision of fostering a more inclusive environment for crypto clients within the banking sector, but aligns with the country’s ambition to become a prominent global hub for crypto. The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong initiated a significant move by opening its doors to applications for licenses from crypto trading platforms on June 1 in order to service retail customers in the region. By attracting prominent players in the crypto space, Hong Kong aims to solidify its position as a key destination for crypto businesses. However, the Hong Kong government has warned crypto firms not to expect special treatment from authorities, and will impose stringent regulations on crypto.