Hong Kong and UAE To Collaborate on Crypto Rules

Hong Kong and UAE authorities are keen to attract global crypto companies to set up shop in their respective regions


Maxim Studio/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Central banks of Hong Kong and UAE recently met in Abu Dhabi to find ways to work together, with both jurisdictions positioning themselves as nations friendly to crypto.

In their meeting, the banks agreed to strengthen cooperation on crypto regulations (which they refer to as “virtual assets”). The two authorities say they’ll now establish a joint working group.

After their meeting, senior executives from banks in UAE and Hong Kong organized a seminar to talk about opportunities between their jurisdictions, according to a statement.

They discussed ways to make cross-border trade easier and explored how UAE companies can use Hong Kong’s financial infrastructure platforms to access markets in Asia and mainland China.

“Hong Kong and the UAE are two financial centers sharing many complementary strengths and mutual interests, and there is much room for market participants from these two places to work together and build up the connectivity,” Eddie Yue, chief executive of the HKMA, said.

Banks such as First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Emirates NBD represented the UAE. Meanwhile, Bank of China, Citi, HSBC, and Standard Chartered showed up for Hong Kong.

Crypto firms seem eager for Hong Kong, UAE

May has been an eventful month for Hong Kong. Part of the city-state’s crypto-friendly measures include ending its ban on retail crypto trading.

Starting in June, licensed digital asset firms will be able to offer services to local traders. Big players in the crypto industry like Huobi, Gate Group, OKX and BitMEX have recently shown interest in joining the Hong Kong market.

On a similar note, the UAE said its federal securities regulator is now accepting applications from companies interested in providing crypto-related services, with the exception of virtual asset companies already operating within financial free zones.

As of January, Dubai itself was home to more than 500 crypto startups. To ensure investor protection and regulate crypto trades, the city launched the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) in March 2022.

Komainu, OKX and Binance are among firms that have flagged intentions to enter the UAE. The emirates’ central bank published guidelines on how to prevent money laundering across its local crypto sector on Wednesday.

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