Hong Kong’s new crypto rules covered by China state TV in rare move from Beijing

China Central Television (CCTV), the country’s largest national broadcaster, shone a light on Hong Kong’s cryptocurrency sector Tuesday when it reported on the region’s incoming virtual asset regulations. The move caught the attention of analysts and crypto heavyweights alike. Changpeng Zhao, CEO of the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance, commented that the unexpected focus on the Hong Kong crypto space could signal the start of a bull run.

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Fast facts

  • During the Tuesday evening coverage, CCTV reported that the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong — a special administrative region of China — has finalized its licensing regime for virtual asset service providers, which will come into effect on June 1.

  • The new rules will allow licensed virtual asset trading platforms to sell certain large market cap cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ether, to retail investors in Hong Kong. The existing trading platforms serving Hong Kong customers are required to apply for a license from the SFC within 6 months following the June 1 kick-off date. Companies that fail to do so will be required to leave the Hong Kong market.

  • CCTV interviewed Keith Choy, the Interim Head of Intermediaries at the Hong Kong SFC, who highlighted the importance of cybersecurity and customer asset protection related to virtual asset trading platforms. “We have seen from previous incidents that network security remains a major challenge in the sector,” Choy told CCTV.

  • It is not uncommon for CCTV — which enjoys an estimated total viewership of over 1 billion — to cover the crypto space. It tracked the collapse of FTX in late 2022 and the MiCA (markets in crypto assets) regulatory developments in Europe in April. However, some business insiders noticed a change of narrative in CCTV’s latest report on the developments in Hong Kong. It was, they said, less critical than previous coverage of the crypto space.

  • CCTV’s coverage of Hong Kong’s cryptocurrency regulation is “a big deal,” tweeted Binance CEO Zhao on Wednesday. “The Chinese speaking communities are buzzing. Historically, coverages like these led to bull runs.”

  • “China is waking up to crypto again,” Lark Davis, a Bitcoin investor with over 1.1 million Twitter followers, said on Thursday. “What is happening in Hong Kong is only possible with approval from Beijing.”

  • China banned the trading of cryptocurrencies in September 2021. However, the government has signaled its growing interest in exploring blockchain-related technologies. This includes non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which currently remain in a regulatory gray area.

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