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Taiwan's crypto ecosystem gets its official regulator as Hong Kong attracts global crypto firms

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(Kitco News) - Huang Tian-mu, the chair of Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), has revealed that the agency will become the primary regulator of cryptocurrencies for the island nation, according to local media reports.

Huang made the announcement during a Monday address in front of Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan, saying that the FSC has received instructions from the cabinet to oversee cryptocurrency payments and transactions.

One of the main points of focus for the FSC will be to ensure that all crypto trading platforms keep the crypto assets they own separate from those owned by their clients. This has been a growing area of concern for global regulators since the collapse of FTX, which is alleged to have co-mingled clients' funds, ultimately leading to bankruptcy for the cryptocurrency exchange and significant losses for its depositors.

The FSC will also supervise all exchange product listings along with other customer protection measures. While it has been tasked with payments and transactions, other industry-related assets, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs), will reportedly be handled by the Ministry of Digital Affairs (MODA).

This move is being done to help consolidate and simplify crypto regulation in Taiwan, which is currently overseen by multiple agencies. According to a report from the Central News Agency, Taiwanese lawmakers intend to develop and approve a relevant crypto regulatory framework by the end of March or April at the earliest.

Hong Kong attracts crypto firms

According to Christian Hui, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury in Hong Kong, more than 80 virtual asset-related companies from China and foreign nations have expressed interest in establishing a presence in Hong Kong as it looks to become a leading cryptocurrency and web3 hub.

Hui made the remarks during a speech on Monday, saying that the special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China has seen an influx of interest from global crypto companies since October when the Hong Kong government first revealed its intentions to diverge from China by allowing retail crypto trading by its residents.

China is giving Hong Kong behind-the-scenes approval to become a crypto hub

At least 23 firms have already indicated that “they planned to establish their presence” in the city, according to Hui, including digital asset exchanges, blockchain infrastructure companies, blockchain network security firms, and virtual currency payment providers.

These companies are now awaiting further information about how the Hong Kong government plans on implementing its crypto policy, including regulatory requirements, visa requirements for prospective employees, and any support measures that will be put in place for the digital asset and Web3 sector.

Hui noted that the government has allocated $50 million in its 2023 budget to “expedite the Web3 ecosystem.”

“Through the establishment of a comprehensive and clear regulatory system, we are expecting more quality VA enterprises to set up businesses in Hong Kong or to seek development opportunities in Hong Kong,” Hui said.

In February, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) launched a public consultation period seeking comments on its plans to legalize crypto tracking and the proposed requirements for operators of virtual asset trading platforms. The comment period is open until March 31, and the government plans for the new licensing regime to take effect on June 1.

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