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Bitcoin Daily: Hong Kong Wants To License Crypto Exchanges Limit Use To Pros; Crypto Finance Firm Uphold Fires Exec Amid Fraud Accusations

Bitcoin Daily: Hong Kong Wants To License Crypto Exchanges, Limit Use To Pros; Crypto Finance Firm Uphold Fires Exec Amid Fraud Accusations

May 24, 2021 at 02:10AM
by PYMNTS

In Hong Kong, cryptocurrency exchanges will likely soon be required to be licensed by the city’s markets regulator, U.S. News reported. They’ll also only be able to provide services for professional investors.

The news comes from government proposals as jurisdictions around the world look at how the crypto industry should be regulated, the report stated.

Hong Kong’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) has said it thinks any virtual asset firm should be licensed, according to the report. The new proposals have drawn ire from crypto proponents, who say retail investors are important for keeping exchanges in Hong Kong and away from more unregulated areas.

In other news, Uphold Chief Compliance Officer Sameer Ismail has been fired due to accusations of fraud, MSN reported.

Uphold, a crypto finance firm, said Ismail had fraudulently misdirected 516,242 pounds (about $730,500) in corporate user funds, the report stated.

Ismail has denied the allegations, saying the firm is making a retaliatory attack against him, according to the report. He called the situation “messy” and said the firing happened after a breach of contract filing that he had made against the company.

Meanwhile, a Netherlands-based Domino’s Pizza chain has decided to pay its employees in bitcoin if they would like, CoinDesk reported. The option started on Bitcoin Pizza Day, which was Saturday (May 22).

Any staff members who opt into the program can choose how much of their salary above the minimum wage will be paid in bitcoin, the report stated. Minimum wage, by law, must be made in euros.

The franchisee, Immensus Holdings, has 16 Dominos stores and is Holland’s largest. The bitcoin option is being offered in partnership with BTC Direct, the Dutch fiat-to-crypto gateway, according to the report.

Lastly, Huobi, a Seychelles-based cryptocurrency exchange, has suspended futures and leveraged trading for new customers, Cointelegraph reported. The moves have raised questions about how much regulatory scrutiny there is for digital assets.

Huobi is restricting the services in some jurisdictions, although it did not specify which countries would be affected, the report stated. The exchange is also scaling back operations for miner hosting in China after regulators reaffirmed a plan to limit crypto trading activities.

Huobi was looking to expand in Hong Kong after receiving new regulatory clearance, which could have made possible a new cryptocurrency asset management portfolio, according to the report.