Hong Kong officials have confirmed that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is not currently considering any plans to issue a central bank digital currency, or CBDC. Acting secretary for financial services and the treasure Joseph Chan told legislators that the Monetary Authority’s research of the issue concluded that the technology would not be a clear improvement over Hong Kong’s existing payment infrastructure:
"The HKMA has carried out research on CBDC. At the same time, the HKMA notes that the benefits of CBDC and its efficiency gains will depend on the actual circumstances of a jurisdiction. In the context of Hong Kong, the already efficient payment infrastructure and services make CBDC a less attractive proposition. The HKMA has no plan to issue CBDC at this stage but will continue to monitor the international development."
Chan also raised concerns about cryptocurrency anonymity and potential problems with terror financing and money laundering, noting that banks and others in the financial industry are held to strict standards for customer due diligence and records requirements.
The HKMA had announced last April that it was researching the potential risks and benefits of creating its own digital currency. For now, at least, officials seem inclined to observe and monitor developments in the cryptocurrency space:
“Overall, the Government will continue to closely monitor the development of ICOs and 'cryptocurrencies'. While promoting financial innovation, we will also strive to protect the interest of the investing public. The Government, relevant regulators and the Investor Education Centre have rolled out a series of measure to remind investors of the associated risks.”