Crypto Firms Vie for Hong Kong Licenses Ahead of Retail Opening on June 1

May. 30, 2023
Crypto Firms Vie for Hong Kong Licenses Ahead of Retail Opening on June 1

As Hong Kong prepares to open its doors to retail crypto traders on June 1, fierce competition among cryptocurrency companies to secure licenses is heating up. Several firms have announced their intentions to apply for licenses, hoping to tap into the burgeoning market.

On May 29, CoinEx, a Hong Kong-based crypto exchange, revealed its plans to launch a local platform called BitHK. The exchange intends to submit its VASP license application to the city’s securities regulator on June 1. This move marks CoinEx’s entry into the race to attract Hong Kong’s retail crypto traders.

Shortly after CoinEx’s announcement, Huobi, another prominent exchange, took to Twitter to declare that its Hong Kong entity would offer crypto trading services to local retail traders. Huobi submitted its VASP application to the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) on May 29, further intensifying the competition. and BitMEX, two other notable exchanges, had already unveiled their license applications and plans to provide dedicated crypto trading services in Hong Kong just the week before.

Moreover, players like OKX and ZA Bank (Hong Kong’s largest digital bank) have expressed their intentions to obtain VASP licenses. Additionally, a Chinese state-owned conglomerate, Greenland Holdings subsidiary, has also expressed its intention to obtain a VASP license.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) made a significant announcement on May 23. They stated that licensed VASPs would be permitted to serve retail investors from June 1. It encouraged companies willing to comply with its guidelines on secure asset custody, robust security standards, and asset segregation to apply for licenses.

New Crypto Industry Groups Emerge

In a simultaneous and noteworthy development on May 29, two industry groups, the Hong Kong Licensed Virtual Assets Association (HKLVAA) and Web3 Harbour, announced their establishment through a joint statement. In addition, these groups aim to cater to different aspects of the crypto industry.

The HKLVAA primarily focuses on serving VASP-licensed firms and those interested in obtaining licenses within the city. Its mission is to provide support and resources to ensure compliance and foster responsible growth within the industry.

On the other hand, Web3 Harbour is dedicated to facilitating the development of Web3 technologies in Hong Kong. With a specific emphasis on fostering local Web3 innovation, this group aims to contribute to the growth and adoption of decentralized applications and blockchain solutions in the region.

As the June 1 deadline approaches, the licensed race among crypto firms in Hong Kong intensifies. With the potential to tap into a new market of retail investors, these companies are strategically positioning themselves to capitalize on the growing demand for cryptocurrency trading services.

However, the outcomes of their license applications and subsequent operations will undoubtedly shape Hong Kong’s crypto industry landscape.

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Ammar Raza

Associate editor
Skilled in crafting compelling content, with a deep enthusiasm for blockchain technology. I offer precise and easily comprehensible perspectives on cryptocurrencies, decentralized finance, and the ever-evolving landscape. Count on me as a reliable resource to remain informed about the latest advancements in the world of crypto.