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Hong Kong Cryptocurrency Perception Survey: JPEX Scandal Impact

41% of respondents said they prefer not to hold virtual assets or cryptocurrencies — up 12 percentage points from an earlier study.

Public attitude toward cryptocurrency in Hong Kong has taken a dive following the JPEX crypto exchange scandal, according to the initial findings of a new survey.

The survey, conducted by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s business school, was to understand how public attitudes toward virtual assets may have been impacted by the JPEX scandal.

The survey was launched on Sept. 28, around 11 days after the allegations toward JPEX were made public, with its results compared against a similar survey conducted between April and May.

While the survey period is set to end on Oct. 20, the results so far found that 41% of respondents would prefer not to hold virtual assets — up 12 percentage points from a study conducted in May.

Only 20% of respondents now want to hold virtual assets in the future, down five percentage points from the earlier survey — another sign that Hong Kongers’ sentiment toward the cryptocurrency industry may be souring.

HKUST acknowledged the second survey came in the “aftermath of an alleged financial fraud” of a cryptocurrency platform last month but didn’t directly refer to JPEX in its report.

Professor Allen Huang, associate dean of HKUST’s business school, said the recent financial incident has brought more public attention to the cryptocurrency industry, resulting in a “more conservative investment appetite” of late. He added:

“As virtual assets become increasingly a part of the digital economy, more educational initiatives are needed to enhance public understanding and awareness of the risks and potentials of this emerging field.”

HKUST’s business school said the survey aimed to gauge the attitudes and views of Hong Kong people on virtual asset investment based on their experiences, intentions and regulatory safeguards.

5,700 people aged 18 and above took part in the first survey, while 2,200 people were surveyed in the second survey between Sept. 28 and Oct. 5.

JPEX allegedly operated a $166-million fraud scheme, which unraveled over several months before Hong Kong authorities publicly declared they were investigating the exchange.

In light of the JPEX saga, the Hong Kong Police Force and the Securities and Futures Commission set up a cryptocurrency-focused working group on Oct. 5 to deal with illicit activities on exchanges.

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