May 18, 2024

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Crypto savings, staking products not protected in Hong Kong, finance regulator says

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said on Tuesday that virtual asset investments offering high-interest returns on cryptocurrency deposits and those that guarantee additional assets at fixed rates are unregulated products that are not protected by law. 

See related article: Singapore says not possible to protect local users from FTX

Fast facts

  • Such offerings may be marketed to the public as “deposits” or “savings” products, which the SFC said are not the same as bank deposits
  • The SFC warned that many platforms offering similar investment products are not subject to any regulation for transparency and financial soundness.
  • If a virtual asset investment platform ceases operations, goes out of business, or is hacked or exposed to fraud, investors risk losing their entire investment held on the platform, the SFC said.
  • The SFC added that some virtual asset investment products may be classified as unlicensed investment funds, and advertising them to the Hong Kong public could result in a HK$500,000 (US$64,293) fine and three years in prison. 
  • The SFC’s announcement comes amid FTX.com’s bankruptcy proceedings. 

See related article: Hong Kong mulls regulatory requirements for local licensed crypto exchanges: report