Hong Kong regulator warns of illegal activity by unlicensed exchanges.

Hong Kong regulator warns of illegal activity by unlicensed exchanges.

The Blockchain Industry: Addressing Improper Practices and Ensuring Regulatory Compliance in Hong Kong

In a recent notice issued by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong, concerns were raised regarding unlicensed virtual asset trading platforms engaging in improper practices. The SFC emphasized that certain trading firms had falsely claimed to have submitted applications for licenses in Hong Kong, and warned that such actions could result in potential criminal charges.

Background of the Issue

The blockchain industry has witnessed significant growth and innovation, offering a wide range of financial services and products. However, with this burgeoning ecosystem comes the challenge of ensuring regulatory compliance and combating fraudulent practices. In an effort to safeguard investors and maintain market integrity, regulatory bodies such as the SFC play a crucial role.

Unlicensed Activities and False Statements

According to the SFC, several unlicensed crypto trading platforms in Hong Kong have set up new entities, claiming to have submitted license applications to the securities regulator. However, the SFC has found that the services and products offered by these entities may not comply with the legal and regulatory requirements established by the SFC’s rules, effective as of June 1.

The SFC has made it clear that established entities engaging in unlicensed activities must either apply for SFC licenses or cease their operations in Hong Kong. Failure to comply with these requirements is considered a criminal offense under Hong Kong law.

Importance of Regulatory Compliance

The SFC’s licensing regime is designed to ensure the protection of investors and the integrity of the market. Crypto firms that have obtained licenses, such as HashKey and OSL, are able to offer a variety of crypto services to Hong Kong residents. These licensed platforms are required to follow strict rules, including safe custody of assets and adherence to Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regulations, among others.

Regulatory compliance is crucial for the sustainable development of the blockchain industry. By establishing clear guidelines and enforcing them, regulators can promote a secure and transparent environment for participants in the market. This not only safeguards investors but also helps build trust and confidence in the industry as a whole.

Ensuring Proper Practices Through Regulatory Measures

The SFC’s notice serves as a reminder of the importance of regulatory compliance in the blockchain industry. It highlights the need for trading platforms to obtain the necessary licenses, adhere to established regulations, and operate in a transparent and lawful manner. This ensures that consumers can confidently engage in transactions while minimizing the risk of fraudulent activities.

To further illustrate the significance of regulatory measures, let’s consider an analogy. In traditional finance, licensed banks are subject to strict regulations to protect depositors’ funds and maintain the stability of the banking system. Similarly, in the blockchain industry, licensing requirements help safeguard investors’ assets and promote the overall stability of the market.


The blockchain industry holds tremendous potential for driving financial innovation and transforming various sectors. However, with this potential comes responsibilities, including regulatory compliance and the need to address improper practices. The recent notice from the SFC highlights the importance of adhering to licensing requirements and establishes that engaging in unlicensed activities in Hong Kong is a criminal offense.

By enforcing regulations and promoting proper practices, authorities can foster a more secure and trustworthy environment for participants in the blockchain industry. This ultimately contributes to the long-term success and sustainability of the industry, attracting more participants and driving further innovation.