The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said it expects regulated virtual asset service providers (VASPs) to be able to successfully apply for bank accounts through a reasonable process, in a blog post signed by the watch’s deputy chief executive Arthur Yuen. The HKMA said in a circular later the same day that banks should support licensed crypto firms with their legitimate needs for bank accounts, Bloomberg reported.
The updates come after the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission signaled yesterday that it will issue guidelines on the licensing regime for crypto exchanges in May. This is all part of an effort to establish Hong Kong as a crypto-friendly jurisdiction, even as other regulators in other major financial centers put the industry under pressure. In the US, authorities are putting pressure on the crypto industry, in part by closing credit institutions that work closely with startups in this space, such as Signature Bank and Silvergate Banks. In Europe, lobby group CryptoUK wrote to the government last month complaining that British banks are blocking transfers to crypto exchanges.
The Block reported on February 20 that Hong Kong plans to lift the ban on retail trading of cryptocurrencies. At the time, the SFC said it wanted to strike a better balance between investor protection and market development. In a blog post published yesterday, Yuen reported that he has been actively negotiating with banks in recent months. In addition, Yuen said they reminded banks that there are no legal and regulatory requirements prohibiting them from providing banking services to entities related to virtual assets (VA).