With many people afraid of missing out on a chance to make easy money, millions of everyday consumers now own cryptocurrencies. But not every investor has a sound understanding of how these systems work, which is why Hong Kong’s authorities are launching a campaign to educate its citizens on the potential risks involved when it comes to ICOs and crypto trading.
The country’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) and the Investor Education Centre (IEC)—a subsidiary of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC)—are behind the campaign, which warns of the investment risks using advertisements on Hong Kong’s MTR stations, television, and in print and digital media.
As noted by TechCrunch, the SFC voiced its concern over the growth of ICOs last September. Initial Coin Offerings raised $4 billion for companies in 2017.
"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 full understanding of their nature and potential risks,” said the Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Joseph Chan.
Additionally, the Chin Family website, the financial education platform of the IEC, has developed several articles that explain the features and risks of ICOs and cryptocurrencies.
The potential for fraud and security breaches is also a concern. Japanese exchange Coincheck had 500 million dollars’ worth of NEM coins stolen last Friday and is reimbursing customers using its own money.
With the campaign, Hong Kong is following South Korea in trying to calm its citizens' rampant speculation. The latter country has introduced new rules and tighter regulations and even suggested that a ban on exchanges could still be brought in—a potential measure that resulted in the price of many cryptocurrencies falling.