Лицензирование деятельности криптовалютной биржи в Гонконге

It should be pointed out from the outset that at this moment state authorities have significantly neutral position in relation to obtaining license for exchange of cryptocurrency in Hong Kong. It means that the issue of cryptocurrency exchange licensing is in suspension. However, such position of the regulator may be transferred from amorphous to very specific form.

The Hong Kong Commission on securities and futures assigns the status of “virtual commodity” that are not securities, to all cryptocurrencies. Consequently, the activity related to the exchange of cryptocurrencies is not subject to the Law of Hong Kong appliable to securities. Subsequently, obtaining license for exchange of cryptocurrencies in Hong Kong is not required. These circumstances remains a wide area for business operations with cryptocurrency exchanges in this state.

Nevertheless, if the cryptocurrency exchanges intend to exchange virtual currencies to fiat funds, such activity may be subject to regulation of Hong Kong authorities. In particular, it is referred to the Anti-money laundering (AML) and the countering of financing of terrorism (CFT) legislation. That is why it is required to obtain the Money Service Operator (MSO) license to exchange the cryptocurrencies to the fiat funds in Hong Kong. Let’s move to the certain steps to the objectives to be achieved.

Which company should be registered to create the cryptocurrency exchange?

Prior to obtaining the license to exchange cryptocurrencies in Hong Kong (if  required), you should establish a company. In Hong Kong, there are two main organizational and legal forms, namely: company limited by shares and company limited by guarantee. Company limited by shares is the classical and most common legal form for operating business. The company limited by guarantee is appropriate for non-profit organizations.

In order to operate activities concerning the exchange of cryptocurrency in Hong Kong, a suitable form will be company limited by shares. The legislator does not provide any requirements with respect to the minimum authorized capital and the number of participants. However, there must be a corporate secretary in the company staff. The latter must be a resident of Hong Kong.

In addition, this type of company is exempt from the obligation to obtain a business license (all activities are licensed in Hong Kong) and to pay taxes in the event that the activities are not carried out in the territory of the state.

Which requirements should be followed for licensing of cryptocurrency exchange in Hong Kong?

Taking into account the needs of the investors, obtaining such license to exchange cryptocurrencies to fiat funds is just a matter of time. Thus, what are the requirements set by the regulator for licensing of cryptocurrency exchange in Hong Kong?

Director and beneficial owner must pass the so-called “compliance test”:

  • Specified persons must not have been convicted for commission of the financial and related crimes;
  • Must not have been convicted for commission of the scope of international crimes;
  • Must not have been convicted for commission of commission of crimes related to money-laundering and financing of terrorism;
  • Must not be recognized as bankrupts and no liquidation procedure should be conducted against them.

It is necessary to submit the documentation package. In particular, the following should be specified:

  • description of the anticipated business activity, as well as particularities and means of its operating;
  • Information with regard to the legal entity that acts as an applicant;
  • Information on officers of the company (passport data, residential address, education, working experience in relevant positions);
  • Information concerning employees that have already been hired for the future conduct of the anticipated activity.

It is also required to submit the following:

  • copy of foreign passports of the director and the beneficial owner;
  • declaration as a commitment that persons specified hereinabove comply with criteria (if the director or the beneficial owner are legal entities, it is necessary to send the incorporation documents, certificate on incorporation of such entity and completed declaration);
  • authorization letter.

It should be noted that the procedure of obtaining license to exchange cryptocurrencies in Hong Kong is relatively new. In this regard, the regulator may set other requirements.

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