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Crypto exchanges explain why Hong Kong shouldn’t ban retail investors

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  • Crypto exchanges have warned of the possible risks retail investors in Hong Kong might face if banned.
  • They argued that most of them will move to oversee and unregulated platforms to trade crypto.

Just when cryptocurrencies are seeing increases in market value amid the growing rate of institutional adoption, Hong Kong is looking to ban retail investors and traders in the country from accessing cryptocurrencies. A group of major crypto exchanges warned today that such development might result in an increase in financial crimes, as some investors will shift to oversee and unregulated platforms to trade crypto.

Crypto exchange warns of possible increase in crime

As the South China Morning Post reported on Monday, the Hong Kong government is looking to introduce a bill that seeks banning retail investors from trading cryptocurrency. Only professional investors would be able to trade cryptocurrencies, when the bill is passed. However, Global Digital Finance, an industry body representing major crypto exchanges like OKCoin, Coinbase, BitMEX, etc., argued that such a move can expose the retail investors to more risk.

Retail investors and traders in Hong Kong might turn to unregulated exchanges or even oversee platforms out of reach of regulation, according to the association. While speaking on the development, the chairman of Global Digital Finance, Malcolm Wright, said “restricting cryptocurrency trading to professional investors only is different to what we have seen in other jurisdictions such as Singapore, the UK, and the US, where retail investors can buy and sell virtual assets.”

Why treat Bitcoin differently?

Aside from the crypto exchanges, another industry group in the country, the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, said there must be a justifiable reason for why the government chose to treat cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin differently from other investable assets and precious metals. “Any barrier put in place to restrict the sale or purchase of bitcoin needs to be reasonable and well justified. Individuals … need to be able to use and accept bitcoin as payment.”

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Grayscale’s Top Executive Joins Robinhood as New Chief Compliance Officer

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Robinhood hires a new CCO, the chief compliance officer of Grayscale

Robinhood brokerage app has welcomed Benjamin Melnicki as a new Chief Compliance Officer, who is also the holder of the same position at Grayscale Investments. He joined Grayscale in early January this year.

At the moment, Robinhood’s cryptocurrency arm is facing scrutiny from financial regulators. Last year, Robinhood was a target of an investigation connected to anti money laundering and certain cybersecurity problems experiences by its crypto division.

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As reported by U.Today previously, later this year, the brokerage firm plans to roll out cryptocurrency wallets for its users. The trials of wallets will kick off in October and will allow customers to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies to addresses beyond Robinhood seamlessly.

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Crypto Exchange

Average Aussie crypto portfolio grew 258% in FY 20-21, survey reveals

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The average portfolio size on Australian cryptocurrency exchange BTC Markets has grown from $577.65 (795.5 Australian dollars) to $2,069.16 (2849.5 AUD) in the financial year 2021, signaling a 258.2% increase in portfolio holdings, according to exchange data compiled by Statista on a recent BTC Markets survey.

Data on the survey shows that the average portfolio size of female and male investors in fiscal 20-21 on BTC Markets was $1,924.30 (2,650 AUD) and $2,214.03 (3,049 AUD), respectively. However, in 2020, the average portfolio size of female Aussie investors exceeded male investors slightly. 

Transaction data on the exchange also showed a pattern of growing investment demand with aging. Considering the data provided by BTC Market on Australia’s average initial investment, investors above 65 years old have invested roughly $3,158.03, the highest ofall demographics.

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Following an incremental reduction across the various age groups, the youngest cryptocurrency traders, ranging from 18 to 24 years, tend to make comparatively small investments, standing at $792.96 on average. While older Australian crypto investors outweigh the new generation in initial investment, the younger crowd shows comparatively more activity in terms of daily trades.

Resonating the findings above, a September report from financial comparison website Finder shows that one in six Australians own cryptocurrencies, amounting to $8 billion in total investment. The report suggests that, like many other users in advanced industrialized countries, Australians were increasingly viewing cryptocurrencies as a new asset class. 

According to Cointelegraph’s report on the matter, Bitcoin (BTC) is the most popular cryptocurrency for the Australian crypto market held by 9% of investors. Other popular investments include Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The report showed that, despite the growth in crypto investments, a significant barrier to entry for Australians is the difficulty in understanding crypto and the risks related to volatility.

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Crypto Exchange

Switzerland to Impose Anti-Money Laundering Rules on Crypto Providers: Report

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FINMA requires all cryptocurrency providers to step up their game and monitor whether criminals use digital assets in illicit transactions.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority – FINMA – would reportedly require local digital asset providers to take additional steps in preventing criminals from employing cryptocurrencies. The watchdog would also turn its sight towards bitcoin ATMs as it believes that drug dealers often use these machines.

FINMA Targets Criminals Operating with Crypto

According to a Finews report, Switzerland’s financial regulator – the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority or simply FINMA – would closely supervise local crypto providers as an attempt to clamp down on money-laundering transactions.

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Swiss platforms and brokers dealing with digital assets would have to enhance their monitoring efforts and observe if bad actors employ cryptocurrencies. The Bern-based watchdog believes the initiative is “urgently necessary,” stressing that criminals use the asset class even to fund terrorism acts.

FINMA also turned its attention towards bitcoin automated teller machines. According to the regulator, drug dealers frequently use such ATMs as payment systems. It is worth noting that Switzerland is a relatively small nation, but its 130 Bitcoin automated teller machines place it in the sixth position among the countries with the most stations.

FINMA also passed an anti-money laundering provision according to which it lowered the threshold for unidentified crypto purchases from 5,000 Swiss Francs (CHF) to 1,000 CHF (around $1,080). Or, in other words, all financial providers dealing with digital assets have to collect data on anyone initiating transactions that exceed this amount.

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UBS: Crypto Regulations Could Spell Trouble

One of the leading banks in Switzerland – UBS – recently shared its views on the hot topic of digital asset regulations as it indicated that implementing certain rules might negatively impact the market.

Furthermore, the bank warned its customers that regulatory crackdowns can pop the “bubble-like” crypto markets. The Swiss bank also labeled the asset class as “speculative” alerting that it could be dangerous for professional investors:

“While we can’t rule out future price gains in cryptos, we see this as a speculative market that poses significant risks to professional investors.”

On another note, though, when the cryptocurrency market was booming at the beginning of May, UBS demonstrated a different attitude. Back then, it intended to enable its wealthy customers to receive digital asset exposure later in 2021 through third-party vehicles.

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