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The risk of virtual currencies is assessed as medium-low in Hong Kong

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The Hong Kong government is striving to raise awareness about the risks with cryptocurrencies. The Hong Kong Financial Services and Treasury [FSTB] released a money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment report on April 30th talking about virtual currencies [VCs].

It states:
“The financial regulators and the C&ED have issued circulars to remind regulated institutions of the risks associated with potential or existing customers that may use their services for activities relating to VCs….. regulated institutions should ensure vigilance when considering whether to establish or maintain relationships with operators of schemes related to VCs.”

It points out how the use of Bitcoins and VCs is not yet popular in Hong Kong.
“VCs are not legal tenders and not accepted for payment in Hong Kong. The exchange of Bitcoin in person is not popular….. Domestically, the use of Bitcoin remains at a negligible level.”

The report further stated:“While we have not found substantial risks in these newly developing payment methods or commodities, this is a rapidly developing area requiring continued monitoring.” Therefore, the risk of these currencies was assessed as medium-low.

World over many cases of money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF) linked to Cryptocurrency have been reported. However, Hong Kong has seen any visible impact that Cryptocurrency has.  However, the Hong Kong FST will continue to monitor the risks and the Hong Kong government and financial regulators will keep a check on the further developments in the usage of virtual currencies in the territory.

Here is what the public Tweeted-

  1. “#Bitcoin skeptics often deride #cryptocurrency for its supposed associations with criminal networks & illicit activities. However, new report from the Hong Kong govt says dt rising consumer interest in #BTC hasn’t correlated with a “visible impact” on the risk of financial crimes”
  2. “Yep, no worse than other methods of payment.”
  3. “all the rest is propaganda”
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