Hong Kong is searching for new ways to improve cryptocurrency trading activities in the country. Hong Kong’s financial watchdog wants to protect investors by regulating cryptocurrency trading platforms. This is something very similar to what Japan has been doing in the last months.

Hong Kong’s Financial Watchdog to Regulate Crypto Trading

According to Carlson Tong Ka-shing, the outgoing chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), the agency has certain limits. He explained that the SFC can only rule about securities.

During a conversation with the South China Morning Post, he said that a ban on crypto trading would not be effective. Transactions can be performed at all times via platforms in overseas markets. It is important to remember that mainland China has imposed a strict ban on virtual currencies.

However, the SFC wants to regulate the market and control the activities. Furthermore, the agency has only warned investors about investing in cryptos. But there is also an increased number of users and merchants working with virtual currencies. That means that the regulator faces increased pressure to impose formal rules in the market.

On the matter, he commented:

“We have to carefully consider the regulatory approach for these platforms because they are new technology and may not qualify as securities. They do not fit in the custodian, audit or valuation requirements, for instance, normally expected under the Securities and Futures Ordinance.”

Additionally, he said that there is no other international market with a comprehensive regulatory framework for crypto trading platforms. They are analysing how to create one that will ensure investors’ interests.

And indeed, cryptocurrency exchanges have been welcoming to this specific move. Angelina Kwan, the chief operating officer of BitMEX, said that they would work closely with the SFC on regulations. BitMEX is one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency trading platforms.

“The US has introduced regulations over cryptocurrency and there are futures products being traded by the CME Group and the CBOT,” she commented. “This shows that a regulatory authority can help to develop a new industry.”

Jeremy Allaire, founder and chief executive of Circle, said that they know that their OTC trading desk in Hong Kong operates without clear regulations. He said that they will pay close attention to the new regulatory frameworks that could emerge.

There are some countries such as Malta or Switzerland that have been very welcoming towards crypto and blockchain companies. These nations have developed flexible legal frameworks for firms to grow while protecting investors.

Japan has also been imposing several regulations to cryptocurrency trading platforms. Since the beginning of the year, several companies in the Japanese market experienced different issues. For example, the crypto exchange Coincheck was hacked for $500 million dollars.

Now, crypto companies and exchanges in Japan must follow strict rules to operate.

*This post is credited to Use The Bitcoin

The real estate market of Hong Kong is said to be one of the most expensive in the world, alongside New York, London, and Sydney. Yet, crypto startups are moving into the most valuable skyscrapers in the city.

On August 22, CCN reported that BitMEX, a popular cryptocurrency exchange that facilitates Bitcoin and Ethereum margin trading, moved its headquarters to Cheung Kong Center’s 45th floor, renting out 20,000 square feet at $28.66 per square foot.

Its old headquarters were based in Victoria Harbor, a region within Hong Kong that is known for expensive residential properties. In Victoria Harbor, BitMEX paid around $3.18 per square foot and in Cheung Kong Center, BitMEX is paying $573,200 per month, at a rate of $28.66 per square foot.

BitMEX will operate its office in the most valuable skyscraper with Hong Kong alongside major financial institutions such as Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc, Bloomberg LP, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong.

Banks are Moving Out of Skyscrapers

According to a report released by SCMP, a mainstream media outlet in Hong Kong, even major banks like Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas have started to explore cheaper locations for their offices in Hong Kong due to rising rental fees.

Annual office rental costs in Hong Kong Central average around US$307 per square foot a year, a rate that easily surpasses London’s West End and Beijing’s Finance Street.

BitMEX and Diginex Global, two crypto startups based in Hong Kong, are renting out 72,000 square feet in total, paying around $1.3 million per month.

“Blockchain companies show no signs of slowing their expansion in Hong Kong. These firms are leasing space in top-tier office buildings to attract and retain talent.” Philip Pang, an associate director of office services at Colliers, told SCMP.

The local publication reported that Goldman Sachs is relocating from Hong Kong Central to Causeway Bay in the next few months to save 30 percent on rent. BNP Paribas has also relocated its office to Swire Properties’ Taikoo Place.

While JPMorgan has leased the Quayside in Kwun Tong near Victoria Harbor, the cost of rent comes nowhere close to the rent BitMEX will be paying throughout the years to come.

Landlords Not Confident in Crypto

Over the past nine months, despite the 80 percent drop in the valuation of the crypto market, cryptocurrency-related businesses have prospered. Specifically, exchanges have continued to generate large revenues.

However, local publications have reported that Cheung Kong Center demanded BitMEX to pay a year’s rent upfront, which is estimated to be around $6.8 million, demonstrating the lack of confidence in crypto-related businesses by major landlords in the Hong Kong real estate market.

“It’s pretty common for landlords to ask for larger deposits from tenants with weaker covenant strength. Landlords are always open to taking on new tenants, it’s just a matter of balancing rent against flight risk,” said Denis Ma, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle.

With the one year’s rent at Cheung Kong Center, it is possible to purchase multiple story buildings in many major cities like Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Min, Tokyo, and Busan.

*This post is credited to CCN

The rising popularity of cryptocurrencies is undeniable on the global scale, but what also is undeniable is the fact that the adoption rate has not been en masse over the past few years.

This is especially the case for many large-scale institutions, hedge funds and many top-tier investors throughout Asia. This is largely due to several factors in trading platforms, including the lack of consistency, limited usability, security concerns, high fees, and sub-par consumer experience.

In Hong Kong, in particular, complaints about misappropriated assets and market manipulation led to the technical breakdown of several exchanges, which led regulators from the Securities and Futures Commission to step in and police the market, curbing potential fraud often associated with virtual currencies.

This puts market professionals, such as accountants and lawyers, in the position to ensure effective gatekeeping to prevent fraud and dubious fundraising activities, ensuring compliance with the law.

Blockchain as a High Priority

It is through the implementation of such regulatory actions that Hong Kong is seeking to gain the reputation to become an important international blockchain hub, and according to the fintech lead at InvestHK, “Blockchain is a very high priority for us. There is hype, and there is the fast grab of money with ICOs in some cases. But what we are looking at building here in Hong Kong is an infrastructure for new businesses and existing businesses, to make sure the technology and innovations remain a key enabler for financial sector growth.”

Projects from around Asia are setting up their infrastructure in Hong Kong, like the Japanese Messaging Giant LINE – who recently setup a $10 million fund.

BitMEX are renting the world’s most expensive offices in Hong Kong – sharing the building with financial giants Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc, Bloomberg LP, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong, which is bringing legitimacy to the the industry in Hong Kong.

Another crypto-exchange launched in Hong Kong called Coinsuper, which has over 1 million users and up to 250 million USD in daily trading. They are focused on ‘Fiat to crypto’ and have recently launched an ecosystem that connects investors, authorities and blockchain innovation labs.

Cryptocurrency is not a Threat

The Financial Services and Treasury of Hong Kong recently released a report which sheds light on the fact that cryptocurrency is not a threat, despite the chaos surrounding its regulations.

“Hong Kong applies no capital gain tax to crypto investment, making it a huge incentive for investors and therefore boost the industry,” says Michael Ou, CEO of CoolBitX. “I am excited to see Hong Kong become a crucial location for crypto-related activities and efforts.”

It was done in an effort for the general public to be aware that no specific regulation exists around cryptocurrency trading, and Money Service Operators licenses only have to be obtained for money services conducted in fiat currencies.

The government of Hong Kong is taking extra steps to educate the public on ICO and cryptocurrency investments, by reaching them through a variety of touchpoints. These touchpoints include their metro system, television, and social media.

The goal is to offer the public a comprehensive and holistic understanding of ICO and cryptocurrency investments following the rise in market interest, and each of these measures are showing signs of working as more citizens of Hong Kong are taking the next steps towards crypto.

The support of blockchain from the Hong Kong Government can clearly be seen. Recently, they created a special policy to expedite Immigration for Blockchain Job seekers – an important initiative to attract the best worldwide talent and aid projects which are currently based here.

*This post is credited to Forbes.com

The Starting Line

Charlie Shrem, early Bitcoin 00 adopter and founder of BitInstant and Crypto.IQ was interviewed by JP Mangalindan of Yahoo Finance on Sunday. The sit-down took place at the MoneyShow conference in San Francisco last Thursday.

Shrem gave the audience some nuggets of wisdom and advice, while also discussing his thoughts on the current cryptocurrency market and its future trajectory.

The pair began by discussing Shrem’s early days in the dawn of Bitcoin — running the largest bitcoin exchanges at the time in the early 2000’s, followed by a stint in prison after selling Bitcoins to resell on the now-defunct ‘black market’ website, The Silk Road.

After serving two years, Shrem teamed up with Randall Oser to create Crypto.IQ, which offers a membership service that includes access to portfolios, cryptocurrency analysis, reports, and education.

A Phoenix From The Ashes

When asked about his take on the current state of Bitcoin, Shrem took the chance to remind new investors that historically, it hasn’t been all sunny days for the cryptocurrency markets. He stated:

A lot of crypto people aren’t traders, traders know there are bull and bear markets. A lot of crypto people think it’s always bull.

Shrem does not seem discouraged by the current bear market. “It’s during these bear markets,” he said invoking ideas of creative destruction, “it’s when things die, things are born and rebuilt.”

Getting In — Getting Intrigued

With the number of existing cryptocurrencies exploding to over 1,800, many are bound to die out in time. Shrem noted that the cryptocurrency space has become much more competitive due to the large number of different projects. Bear market cycles are necessary to shake out projects that have no real-world value.

The huge proliferation of cryptocurrency projects also allows people more avenues to become a part of the cryptocurrency economy.

Shrem praised projects that are legitimate and genuinely attention-grabbing of new people saying, “It’s getting people in. It’s getting people intrigued.”

He advised those who are just beginning to invest, “Choose an amount that you’d be okay with losing.” he continued, “Invest [that amount] in a basket of crypto and just have fun with it. Just enjoy it and learn.”

Shrem recommended locking up the investment to allow it to mature for five years.

‘Putting My Money On 2019’

Mangalindan asked Shrem how to respond to those concerned about the volatility and price of Bitcoin. Shrem responded optimistically, “It was a crazy move. We went from $1,000 to $20,000. The market has to digest that.”

Shrem and other long-time investors realize that the current bear market is simply following the pattern of experiencing periods with large-percentage gains, and subsequent corrections.

Shrem is still bullish on Bitcoin 00 claiming, “Honestly, I’m a buyer between $5,000 and $6,000. “Shrem was also asked about his thoughts on the recent rejection of Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) by the SEC, a topic that has garnered a great deal of media coverage lately. Some investors are claiming that ETFs will make the price skyrocket, others think ETFs will have only a small effect on the market.

“We’re not ready for an ETF.” said Shrem, “The market is too liquid, it’s too manipulatable.” He cited the recent pump of Bitcoin price during maintenance on the BitMEX exchange as an example.

“We only have a first shot at it.” Shrem stated, “We have an ETF, something happens, we get screwed, they shut it down. Do you know how hard it’s going to be to have an ETF again?”

Shrem remains certain that the ETF will happen, stating, “I’m putting my money on 2019.”

*This post is credited to insidebitcoins

Today, we are seeing numerous fiat currencies failing in places like Turkey, Argentina, Venezuela alongside an overvalued stock market. With these issues running in the background, it is not surprising that more people are becoming aware of cryptocurrencies and are interested in getting exposure. Usually, the first question crypto newcomers ask is ‘which cryptocurrency exchange is the best?’ We’ll jump in and take a look at the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the market today:

#1 Coinbase

Coinbase is the most popular way for newcomers to enter the cryptocurrency markets. The truth is that there are not many reputable exchanges out there that accept regular currency deposits. The main reason behind this is the massive amount of regulatory compliance required to accept fiat currencies and trade them for cryptocurrency.The result is that Coinbase dominates the market as a fiat to crypto gateway and now serves over 20 million customers. In fact, Coinbase now manages more accounts than the Fidelity investment firm.Coinbase certainly isn’t going to win any awards for having the lowest fees or boasting the widest range of cryptocurrencies. However, Coinbase does make buying cryptocurrencies as simple as possible. The platform has been designed to be exceptionally straightforward to use and also has an amazing app.What Coinbase offers customers is convenience, simplicity, and safety. In the wild west landscape of cryptocurrency, these are usually things that cryptocurrency newcomers are willing to pay higher fees for.

#2 Binance

Most people first enter the crypto markets using Coinbase. However, many investors are interested in diversifying their cryptocurrency portfolios. This is pretty much impossible on Coinbase because you can only buy Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin or Ethereum Classic on the exchange.The truth is that many investors are searching for the ‘next Bitcoin’ and getting exposure to coins with higher profit potential. This means buying more exotic altcoins, necessitating a different cryptocurrency exchange to buy them. This is usually when people find out about Coinmarketcap and look for the most popular exchange to buy these riskier cryptos. Naturally, the majority of people are attracted to the biggest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume on Coinmarketcap and therefore end up on Binance.The Binance exchange has a massive amount of trading volume, offers access to over 100 different cryptocurrencies and is the most popular exchange to get access to riskier crypto assets. You should know that, at present, Binance only accepts deposits in cryptocurrency and has significantly lower fees than Coinbase.Binance’s stellar reputation, low fees and a wide selection of cryptocurrencies make it one of the biggest and best exchanges out there. It also has a top-rated mobile app too and is perfect for anyone needing to buy or sell cryptocurrencies on the go.

#3 Bitmex

Binance has the biggest trading volume for buying and selling actual cryptocurrencies. However, Bitmex has nearly three times the trading volume on their Bitcoin derivatives market.Bitmex is not the place for inexperienced crypto traders to go ahead and create an account. The exchange offers sophisticated futures contracts on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. This allows investors to bet on the price going either up or down. Not only this, but Bitmex allows leverage trades of up to 100x. This means if the price of Bitcoin goes up 10%, there will be traders on Bitmex gaining 1000% returns.Needless to say, leveraged trading is exceptionally risky. However, Bitmex is the most popular cryptocurrency exchange for investors to gain access to this type of service.

#4 eToro

Let’s face it, actually buying cryptocurrencies is pretty tricky and time-consuming. Once investors buy cryptocurrency, they then have to work out how they want to store it. Usually, this ends up with an investor spending even more time setting up cryptocurrency wallets and trying to work out how to withdraw their coins from an exchange.Many people just want the easiest way possible to get exposure to cryptocurrency prices. This is where a contract for difference broker like eToro comes in. In short, these types of brokers allow you to buy and sell contracts backed by actual cryptocurrency. This means investors get exposure to the price movements of the cryptocurrency market, without having to worry about how to store their crypto.eToro also gives you access to more cryptocurrencies than Coinbase and allows customers to buy or sell coins including Ripple, Dash, Neo, Ethereum, Stellar, Bitcoin, Ethereum Classic, Bitcoin Cash & Litecoin. Not only this, but eToro is fully regulated and balances are covered by official Financial Services Compensation Schemes. This makes eToro one of the safest and most convenient ways to get exposure to crypto markets.eToro has been around for a while and was established in 2007 and has gathered over 6 million users since. The broker also has a special copy trading feature that allows you to search the most successful cryptocurrency traders on the platform and copy their trades. Many investors find copy trading exceptionally useful and prefer it to actually managing their cryptocurrency positions themselves.Final WordThere you have it, the biggest and best cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Of course, the most beneficial crypto exchange for you is a personal choice and will depend on your own circumstances.

 

*This post is credited to Defpen.