Hong Kong SFC Chief Executive: New Guidelines for Crypto Trading Platforms Prioritize Investor Protection

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) announced that the upcoming guidelines for operators of virtual asset trading platforms will place investor protection at the forefront. Julia Leung, Chief Executive of the SFC, made these remarks on May 30 during an online seminar in the Distinguished Leaders Series hosted by the Hong Kong Institute of Finance.

Back in 2018, when the SFC first proposed regulatory measures for virtual asset trading platforms, it faced criticism from parts of the fintech sector. Critics claimed that the licensing system – requiring applicants to meet standards related to internal controls and investor protection – could drive financial technology companies to operate in other regions like Singapore. However, Julia Leung noted that the importance of these requirements became clear to the market after several overseas virtual asset platforms went bankrupt.

The guidelines for virtual asset trading platform operators in Hong Kong will take effect starting in June. Julia Leung believes these guidelines align with market expectations and that prioritizing investor protection is the right course of action. The guidelines will include measures on the prudent custody of assets, the separation of client assets, and avoiding conflicts of interest.

Julia Leung expressed her satisfaction with the SFC’s leadership in regulatory practices, saying, “We are pleased to see the SFC leading as a regulatory role model.”

The SFC’s new regulations underscore the importance of investor protection in an increasingly digital financial landscape and reflect a growing trend of financial regulators worldwide prioritizing investor safeguards in their approach to the fast-evolving cryptocurrency industry.


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Tether Amplifies Cryptocurrency Presence in Georgia: Invests in Payment Processor CityPay.io

Tether Operations Limited (USDT issuer), the driving force behind the highly adopted stablecoin blockchain platform tether.to, has magnified its presence in Georgia’s cryptocurrency landscape through a strategic investment in CityPay.io. This leading payment processing company is active in over 600 locations nationwide, encompassing retail outlets, hospitality venues, and eateries.

With an increasing cryptocurrency demand and nearly 2.89% of Georgians owning some form of crypto, the country, host to 130 crypto ATMs, has been identified as the fourth most crypto-ready globally by Forex Suggest in 2022. Tether’s investment in CityPay.io aligns with Georgia’s commitment to becoming a crypto-friendly hub, aiding the seamless integration of crypto payments.

CityPay.io, offering streamlined payment experiences to customers of renowned brands like Wendy’s and Radisson Hotels, among many others, will utilize Tether’s investment to enhance its service offering and improve efficiency. This strategic move marks Tether as the first stablecoin to invest in CityPay.io, catalyzing a significant milestone in Georgia’s payment processing industry.

The investment will bolster CityPay.io’s ability to extend its operations and refine its services, with the goal of benefiting customers across Georgia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Tether’s Chief Technology Officer, Paolo Ardoino, emphasized the firm’s commitment to the integration of a more connected and accessible financial system.

“We are excited to be working with CityPay.io to bring greater innovation and efficiency to the payment industry in Georgia,” stated Ardoino. Eralp Hatipoglu, CEO of CityPay.io, echoed the excitement, expressing how Tether’s investment will expedite the company’s growth and extend its services to more Georgian customers.

This investment heralds Tether’s expansion strategy in Georgia, reinforcing the company’s dedication to revolutionizing the payment industry with more innovative initiatives expected to be announced soon


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Tether Ventures into Sustainable Energy Production and Bitcoin Mining in Renewable-Rich Uruguay

Tether, the company renowned for powering the world’s foremost stablecoin, announced today its ambitious venture into energy production and sustainable Bitcoin mining in Uruguay. The company is expanding its portfolio to include the energy sector, signaling its firm commitment towards energy innovation and the future of cryptocurrency.

This initiative will be implemented in collaboration with a local licensed company in Uruguay. This strategic decision underpins Tether’s aspiration to be a global tech leader, extending its influence beyond the realms of finance and communication.

In light of this announcement, Tether is recruiting experts in the energy sector to bolster its team. The company’s endeavor into renewable energy sources aims to support sustainable Bitcoin mining, thereby contributing towards a secure and robust monetary network globally.

Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Tether, emphasized Tether’s dedication to sustainable practices. He stated, “By harnessing the power of Bitcoin and Uruguay’s renewable energy capabilities, Tether is leading the way in sustainable and responsible Bitcoin mining. Our unwavering commitment to renewable energy ensures that every Bitcoin we mine leaves a minimal ecological footprint while upholding the security and integrity of the Bitcoin network.”

Uruguay, with 94% of its electricity generation from renewable sources such as wind and solar power, offers ideal conditions for this endeavor. The country’s abundant natural resources allow for the establishment of renewable energy infrastructures like wind farms, solar parks, and hydropower projects, guaranteeing a constant supply of clean and environmentally friendly energy.

Capitalizing on Uruguay’s robust energy infrastructure, Tether has found the perfect platform for its Bitcoin mining operations. The reliable grid system, capable of meeting modern industrial demands, ensures Tether’s operations will be both efficient and sustainable.

This latest venture represents a significant milestone where energy and cryptocurrency merge, affirming Tether’s role as a trailblazer at the forefront of technology, sustainable practices, and financial innovation.


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Blockchain Labs and HashKey Capital Launch Future3 Campus, a Web3.0 Innovation Incubator

Blockchain Labs and HashKey Capital have announced a joint initiative to establish Future3 Campus, a Web3.0 innovation incubator aimed at promoting the global Web3.0 ecosystem. With principal incubation bases in Shanghai, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and Singapore, the incubator aims to foster Web3.0 Massive Adoption, DePIN, and AI.

The Future3 Campus will also launch an inaugural seed fund of $50 million to nurture Web3.0 projects, thus truly serving innovators in the Web3.0 field.

The first incubation batch, known as Future3 Camp 1, will focus on Web3.0 Massive Adoption. Applications for Future3 Camp 1 are now open globally. The selection process aims to choose no more than 15 excellent teams who will receive three months of in-depth incubation followed by nine months of long-tail tracking, including technical guidance, product strategy, professional training, resource docking, publicity, market activities, financing services, and other comprehensive entrepreneurial support.

Camp 1 is set to begin on July 22, with a team of industry veterans from home and abroad acting as mentors, providing one-to-one customized incubation service solutions based on the specific situations of the project. Participating teams will also get a chance to regularly partake in forward-looking industry insight sharing and exchange events, have face-to-face communication with well-known industry investment institutions, communities, and technical representatives, and receive deep technical guidance, market resource support, ecological resource docking, and financing support, which will aid in achieving exponential growth.

In addition to the incubator, Future3 Campus will also provide entrepreneurial guidance for Web3.0 entrepreneurs through various online and offline industry activities and systematic training, paving the way for more talented individuals to enter and develop long-term in the Web3.0 industry.

About Blockchain Labs: Blockchain Labs is one of the earliest blockchain technology research institutions in China, with Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin serving as the chief scientist. Since its inception, Blockchain Labs has been dedicated to promoting the popularity and development of blockchain technology.

About HashKey Capital: HashKey Capital is an institutional asset management company focused on digital assets and the blockchain industry. As one of the most influential and largest cryptocurrency funds globally and one of the earliest institutional investors in Ethereum, HashKey Capital currently manages over $1 billion in assets, with investments in more than 500 projects across various sectors.


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UAE Central Bank and Hong Kong Monetary Authority Bolster Financial Ties

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) convened a bilateral meeting on May 29, intending to amplify cooperation in the financial services arena between the two regions.

The CBUAE and HKMA deliberated over numerous collaborative strategies during the meeting and consented to augment cooperation in three pivotal areas: financial infrastructure, financial market connectivity between the two regions, and virtual asset regulations and developments. Moreover, the two central banks facilitated dialogue between their respective innovation hubs to propel fintech development initiatives and knowledge sharing efforts.

To advance the agreed initiatives, a joint working group led by the CBUAE and HKMA will be established, supported by the relevant stakeholders from the banking sectors of both jurisdictions.

Following the bilateral meeting, the two central banks, along with high-level executives from banks in the UAE and Hong Kong, held a seminar exploring key opportunities between the two regions. Topics of discussion encompassed possible arrangements to enhance cross-border trade settlement, ways UAE corporations can better access Asian and Mainland markets through Hong Kong’s financial infrastructure platforms, and financial and investment solutions, along with capital market opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Banks from the UAE including the First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, HSBC, and Standard Chartered participated in the seminar. From Hong Kong, the Bank of China, Citi, HSBC, and Standard Chartered joined the discussion.

“We are delighted to welcome the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and its delegation to the UAE, as we aspire to build on our central banks’ existing and robust relations,” said H.E. Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of the CBUAE. “During today’s discussions, we explored intensifying collaboration across several key areas, including financial market infrastructure development and mutual opportunities for growth in digitization and technological advancement.”

H.E. Balama added, “We anticipate a longstanding engagement with the HKMA and the broader Hong Kong financial services sector. We will continue collaborating with and exchanging knowledge in these areas of mutual interest.”

Eddie Yue, the Chief Executive of HKMA, stated, “These events have enhanced collaboration between the central banks of Hong Kong and the UAE in several crucial areas, providing a platform for financial institutions and corporations from both regions to augment exchange and collaboration. Hong Kong and the UAE, as financial centers, share many complementary strengths and mutual interests. There is ample scope for market participants from both places to collaborate and build connectivity.”

Yue added, “We look forward to continued collaboration with the CBUAE, increased exchange between the financial sectors of Hong Kong and the UAE, and welcome the visit of UAE stakeholders to Hong Kong in the near future.


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