On 29th January, two Hong Kong authorities – the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) and the Investor Education Centre (IEC) – joined hands to launch a public education campaign on cryptocurrencies. The awareness campaign will give emphasis to the risks associated with ICO investments and cryptocurrency trading.
In an attempt to reach out to every section of society, the campaign will advertise on every form of media – digital as well as print. Series of advertisement will be placed at metro stations and other public places. The authorities will also use television and radio broadcasting to raise awareness.
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Addressing the campaign, Joseph Chan, under-secretary for FSTB, said: “The increase in media coverage and hype around ICOs and ‘cryptocurrencies’, such as bitcoin, has aroused public interest. However, the public might use these as speculative tools without a full understanding of their nature and potential risks. Through this series of public education initiatives, the Government aims to provide the public with a correct and comprehensive understanding of ICOs and ‘cryptocurrencies’, so that they can thoroughly assess the risks before making transactions or investment decisions.”
Dr. Kelvin Wong, chairman of the IEC, commented: “ICOs and ‘cryptocurrencies’ are high-risk products that are not suitable for everyone. ‘Cryptocurrencies’ are not actual currencies, but a type of virtual commodity. They are not backed by any physical commodity nor by the issuers and are not recognized as a medium of payment or electronic currency. ‘Cryptocurrencies’ are highly speculative and are associated with various kinds of risks. Their prices may be susceptible to significant fluctuations due to speculative activities. Investors may suffer significant monetary losses as a result of the volatile prices.”
As a part of the campaign, the authorities will share a series of educational videos on popular social media websites. The IEC has also developed a series of educational infographics and articles and shared them on the Chin Family website, the financial education platform of the IEC.
Though the authorities in mainland China are hostile towards cryptocurrency investments, the scenario is completely different in the independently governed Hong Kong. This densely populated free economic region is home to some of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, and many cryptocurrency exchanges exiled from China have taken shelter there to rebuild their businesses.