Hong Kong Reopens Investment Immigration with Crypto, Embraces Bitcoin to Rival Singapore and Dubai
Following an eight year pause, Hong Kong has restarted its investment immigration program with a new minimum entry threshold and a broadened range of eligible investments, potentially including Bitcoin.
The program, which is officially known as the Capital Investment Entry Scheme, is part of a push by Hong Kong to attract more wealthy foreign investors and family offices in order to maintain its status as a global financial hub in the face of increasing competition from the likes of Dubai and Singapore.
Relaunched Investment Immigration Reflects Changing Investment Landscape
The relaunched program now includes a 30 million yuan (AU$ 6.46 million) minimum entry threshold and, unlike previous iterations of the scheme, excludes real estate as an eligible investment.
According to Hong Kong lawmaker, Qiu Dagen, who serves as a member of the Legislative Council of the Science and Technology Innovation Community, Bitcoin (BTC) should theoretically be allowed as an eligible investment under the scheme.
The potential inclusion of Bitcoin in the investor immigration scheme reflects the changing global investing landscape and the growing importance of crypto as an asset class.
Singapore moved early to draw in crypto investors through low taxes and its pro-business stance, but has adjusted its position to focus on institutional use and high-net-worth investors rather than risky consumer-focused ventures. Managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Ravi Menon said the country would have “one of the most facilitative regulatory regimes” for advances like tokenisation by next year.
Should Bitcoin be deemed eligible under Hong Kong’s new scheme it may boost the island’s attractiveness in the eyes of large crypto investors and creators, potentially further fuelling development and innovation in the Hong Kong crypto scene.
Australia, US Lag Behind Crypto Frontrunners
Compared to territories such as Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore, which have embraced crypto and created regulatory frameworks intended to increase adoption and innovation, Australia and the US have been relatively slow to act.
In the US, regulation of crypto has been largely done through enforcement via the SEC—a slow and piecemeal approach that has created a lot of uncertainty and fear around exactly how digital assets will be treated under the law.
Speaking recently at a Ripple Swell event in Dubai, Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, lamented the lack of regulatory clarity in the US and suggested it’s hampering innovation and adoption:
The U.S. is way behind on creating, you know, those constructs, particularly in contrast to the Dubai’s of the world. And so, you have to have the frameworks for big institutions to adopt and engage.
In Australia, the government is in the process of undertaking a comprehensive token mapping exercise which aims to identify and classify different digital assets and clarify how they could be regulated under existing frameworks.
Speaking to CoinDesk earlier this year, Michael Bacina, Australian digital asset lawyer at Piper Alderman and Chair of Blockchain Australia, characterised Australia as being behind the curve when it comes to crypto regulation:
“Australia has been waiting for certainty over digital asset regulation so it can seek to catch up with the rest of the world.”
In October the Federal government also announced it plans to release draft legislation on licensing and custody for crypto asset providers by the end of the year.