Public education campaign on risks associated with initial coin offerings and "cryptocurrencies" jointly launched by FSTB and Investor Education Centre (with photo)

     The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) and the Investor Education Centre (IEC), a subsidiary of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), jointly launched a public education campaign today (January 29) on the risks associated with initial coin offerings (ICOs) and "cryptocurrencies". The campaign aims to provide the public with a correct and comprehensive understanding of the potential risks of participating in ICOs and "cryptocurrency" transactions.
     The Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Joseph Chan, said, "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. Through this series of public education initiatives, the Government aims to provide the public with a correct and comprehensive understanding of ICOs and 'cryptocurrencies', so that they can thoroughly assess the risks before making transactions or investment decisions."
     The Chairman of the IEC, Dr Kelvin Wong, said, "ICOs and 'cryptocurrencies' are high-risk products that are not suitable for everyone. 'Cryptocurrencies' are not actual currencies, but a type of virtual commodity. They are not backed by any physical commodity nor by the issuers and are not recognised as a medium of payment or electronic currency. 'Cryptocurrencies' are highly speculative and are associated with various kinds of risks. Their prices may be susceptible to significant fluctuations due to speculative activities. Investors may suffer significant monetary losses as a result of the volatile prices."
     The FSTB and the IEC are working together to launch an education campaign to remind the public on the risks associated with ICOs and "cryptocurrencies". Commencing this week, a series of advertisements will be placed in MTR stations and print and digital media. In March, there will be television and radio advertisements, as well as an educational video that will be shared on popular social media platforms. In addition, the Chin Family website, the financial education platform of the IEC, has developed a range of educational articles and infographics to help the public understand the features and risks of ICOs and "cryptocurrencies".
     The public can visit the Chin Family website and refer to relevant information from the SFC to learn more about the associated risks of ICOs and "cryptocurrencies" at the following links:

Ends/Monday, January 29, 2018
Issued at HKT 16:45