Barely a week after the Chinese government said it will consider banning Bitcoin mining in the country, Hong Kong has apparently moved to regulate cryptocurrency mining, reports Hong Kong newspaper Harbor Times which cited a written response published by Secretary of Financial Services and the Treasury James Lau on April 3.
As per the written response, the sale of mining equipment and any other products and equipment necessary to “mine” virtual assets such as Bitcoin should be regulated under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO), the newspaper reported.
The TDO says that such activities could be considered as “unfair practices” subject to a fine of HK$500,000 or five years in prison.
Earlier this year, three Hong Kong citizens were arrested for convincing 20 people to invest more than HK$3.7 million (around $471,400) in crypto-related equipment and services.
The move follows comments by China’s National Development Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s top economic planner, which said on April 9 that crypto-mining is among a list of industries Beijing authorities plan to eliminate because they “seriously wasted resources.”
The NDRC is now seeking public feedback on its new guidelines. The ban could take effect as soon as May, the newspaper speculated.