In the wake of the unfolding JPEX exchange saga, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) released a blacklist of cryptocurrency firms termed as unregulated and unlicensed.
Hong Kong’s SFC pledges to intensify investor education and information dissemination initiatives, responding to growing public apprehensions concerning unregulated Virtual Asset Trading Platforms (VATPs).
SFC Blacklists Crypto Companies
The ombudsman’s new announcement of blacklisted crypto exchanges follows the recent high-profile JPEX scandal – one of the most significant fraud cases in Hong Kong. The JPEX crypto exchange, which illegally operated in the region, was forced to close down recently with a financial loss of $182 million, affecting over 2,200 investors.
The SFC’s blacklist contains other suspicious crypto platforms, including HKVAX, HKBitEx, Hong Kong BGE, and Victory, which are suspected of fraudulent activities. According to the reports, all these networks operated unlicensed and unregulated; hence, the SFC warned investors of the potential risks of engaging with them.
In light of the JPEX saga, the SFC also committed to publicizing the list of approved and licensed crypto projects, mentioning those with pending applications, as they intend to provide investors with a safe trading environment.
SFC’s CEO, Leung Fung-yee, noted that the initiative would enable investors to steer clear of unregulated platforms operating in Hong Kong.
As per the release, SFC’s recent power to oversee VATPs while ensuring stringent governance measures is all courtesy of the recently implemented Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (Cap. 615) (AMLO).
The SFC will maintain an exclusive list of unreliable platforms alongside the licensed ones, making this info available on its website in a mission to bolster transparency and help in investor decision-making.
Emphasis on Education and Information Sharing
While announcing the list of blacklisted projects, the SFC’s release underscored the relevance of intensifying investor education and information sharing.
The SFC believes that although there are perils like money laundering associated with VATPs, there are compelling benefits brought forth by the technologies underlying these digital finance and virtual asset (VA) activities.
The SFC announced a collaboration with IFEC, launching a public campaign to encourage vigilance against fraud while speeding investor education across various channels like social media, mass media, and educational talks. Moreover, the watchdog will strengthen its processes of gathering intelligence and enforcing actions.
As per the release, the watchdog is also exploring the idea of collaborating with the police in information sharing about VATP-related suspicious activities. The release stresses SFC’s mission of securing assets, preventing market manipulation and abusive activities, and avoiding conflicts of interest, thereby assuring investors’ protection.
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