Stablecoin issuer regulation mooted

December 27, 2023

The Financial Services & the Treasury Bureau and the Monetary Authority today jointly issued a public consultation paper to gather views on the legislative proposal to regulate stablecoin issuers.


In view of the important roles played by stablecoins in the Web3 and virtual asset (VA) ecosystem, and the rising interconnectedness between the traditional financial system and the VA markets, the Government considers that a regulatory regime should be introduced for fiat-referenced stablecoin (FRS) issuers.


Bringing FRS issuers into the regulatory remit under a risk-based and agile approach will facilitate proper management of the potential monetary and financial stability risks.


The proposed legislation contains five salient features:


(1) introducing a licensing regime requiring all FRS issuers that meet certain conditions to be licensed by the Monetary Authority;


(2) requiring that FRS can only be offered by specified licensed entities, and that only FRS licensed by the Monetary Authority can be offered to retail investors;


(3) prohibiting the advertising of FRS issuance by unlicensed entities, or prohibiting non-specified licensed entities’ offerring of FRS;


(4) providing the necessary power for the authorities to adjust the parameters of in-scope stablecoins and activities having regard to rapid VA market development; and


(5) providing a transitional arrangement to facilitate the implementation of the regulatory regime.


Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui said: “The legislative proposal to regulate FRS is another important measure facilitating Web3 ecosystem development in Hong Kong.


“With the relevant licensing, supervisory and enforcement parameters in place, the actual and potential risks associated with stablecoin development in Hong Kong could be properly managed in line with international standards.”


The Monetary Authority will also introduce a sandbox arrangement for communicating supervisory expectations and guidance on compliance to entities having a genuine interest in and a reasonable plan on issuing FRS in Hong Kong as well as obtaining their feedback on the proposed regulatory requirements. The details will be announced in due course.

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