The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) on Monday said it is publishing a list of cryptocurrency exchanges that have applied for a licence, following an alleged fraud scandal involving the unlicensed platform JPEX.
Last week, the watchdog said such a list would create a false sense of security, potentially leading investors to believe that those named are regulated by the body.
SFC licensing director Wong Lok-yan cited “public demand” for the U-turn, adding that there are currently four operators on the list – with JPEX not one of them.
"The use of this list is only to check whether virtual asset trading platforms out there are misrepresenting the licensing status, so that is the purpose of the list," Wong told reporters.
"Being on the list does not mean that the applicants can comply with the SFC's requirements... they remain unregulated and unlicensed until we actually process and approve their applications."
The watchdog's CEO, Julia Leung, dismissed concerns that some platforms could take advantage of a one-year grace period to secure a licence that began in June.
"We have a regime which already provides a lot of safeguards for those platforms. Fraud is difficult to expect beforehand, so investors do have to be very alert to fraudulent activities," Leung said.
"We also make it very clear which are the platforms that have applied, which are the platforms that have not applied. Hoping that together with this information taken into account, [investors will] not have that false sense of security."
More than 2,300 people have filed complaints over JPEX, reporting losses of over HK$1.4 billion between them. Eleven people have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.