Hong Kong Govt Offers Crash Course on Cryptocurrency, ICOs to the Public

Advertisements, infographics, articles and more – all included in Hong Kong’s latest effort to educate the public on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies.

According to a recent press release, Hong Kong’s Financial Services and Treasury Bureau (FSTB), and Investor Education Center (IEC) have launched a public campaign to both educate and warn investors about the “risks” associated with both initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies.

Included in the campaign are advertisements to be placed throughout Hong Kong’s public transit system, television and radio advertisements, and even government-sponsored educational videos to be posted on social media.

According to Under Secretary for the FSTB, Joseph Chan, the aim of the program is to provide a “correct and comprehensive understanding of ICOs and cryptocurrencies” so that the public has a better idea of what they’re investing in.

This wouldn’t be the first time that a country has pushed for a government-sponsored educational program on cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Just a few months ago, the Russian government announced a suggestion to include cryptocurrency in their financial literacy improvement strategy in order to educate the public on associated risks.

One of the main drivers behind the educational push is due to the dangerous volatility of the cryptocurrency markets that many traditional investors are not prepared for. As the media hype-cycle continues, more investors are becoming interested in joining these markets without doing their own due diligence beforehand.

“ICOs and ‘cryptocurrencies’ are high-risk products that are not suitable for everyone,” said Dr. Kelvin Wong, Chairman of the IEC. “Cryptocurrencies are highly speculative and are associated with various kinds of risks. Their prices may be susceptible to significant fluctuations due to speculative activities.”

Also included in the campaign will be articles and infographics on ICOs and cryptocurrencies provided by Hong Kong’s “Chin Family” website – the public financial education arm of the IEC. Information on the topic is already live on the website, and already covers a multiplicity of topics including scams and wallet security.

Hong Kong has generally been a bit more open toward cryptocurrencies unlike the hostilities faced in mainland China. One of the larger cryptocurrency exchanges, Gatecoin, operates in Hong Kong, and regulators have generally held a cautious but open approach. Their concern is mainly focused on protecting and informing investors rather than completely shutting the door on this emerging asset class.

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