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Hong Kong Tightens Regulations on Cryptocurrency Exchanges

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The Hong Kong government have revealed that they are making plans to strengthen its regulatory oversight on bitcoin (BTC) trading venues and crypto-related businesses in accordance with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The move comes after the FATF recommended changes in policy in Hong Kong to comply more closely with its standard guidelines for regulators, designed to ensure the most effective controls against money laundering and other financial crimes through cryptocurrency.

China have since made it clear that bitcoin (BTC) and altcoins are forbidden fruits in its territory, the highly autonomous Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has implemented rules that enable it to effectively handle its crypto space.

In September 2019 the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) released the Fourth Round Mutual Evaluation Report of the region.

FATF state in the report that Hong Kong’s anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing regime are compliant and effective, and that the region has put in place effective measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Though Hong Kong is the first jurisdiction in the Asia Pacific region to pass the FATF assessment, the international financial regulator further made it clear that Hong Kong must take some necessary steps to ensure that it continues to remain in absolute compliance with the statutes of the FATF.  

The FATF has suggested that Hong Kong authorities must strive to deepen their understanding of money laundering and terrorist financing risks, enhance the implementation of AML/CFT measures, improve suspicious transaction monitoring reporting, among other recommendations.

It comes at a time regulators worldwide gear up their controls over cryptocurrency and exchange operators. Regulators in South Korea and Japan are reported to be taking similar steps to comply more closely with the FATF’s stance.

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