Crypto firms seek Hong Kong licenses for retail investors

Many companies in the cryptocurrency industry are trying to enter Hong Kong before the country’s retail opening on June 1. According to the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) that are licensed could serve retail investors after the retail opening. The Commission added that VASPs willing to comply with its guidelines could also apply for a license. These guidelines surround security standards, asset segregation, safe asset custody, and more.

Crypto Firms Seek Hong Kong Licenses

After the announcement on May 23, cryptocurrency companies have started preparing to apply for a license in Hong Kong. CoinEx is the latest cryptocurrency company to express interest in the country, announcing the official launch of a local platform called BitHK. It will provide its VASP license application to the regulator on June 1 and offer services specifically to users in the country. CEO Haipo Yang noted that the platform will “strictly follow the Code of Conduct for Cryptocurrency Exchanges recently released by the SFC and the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Bill 2022.” The CEO emphasized that the purpose of the launch is to create safe and dependable cryptocurrency trading services for users in Hong Kong.

Huobi has also joined the growing list of cryptocurrency companies seeking a license in Hong Kong. It wrote in a tweet that Huobi HK now offers spot and manager services to both retail and professional customers. It continued:

“As a pioneer of a virtual asset trading platform in Hong Kong, Huobi HK has officially submitted an application notice to the Hong Kong Securities Regulatory Commission on May 29, and we look forward to obtaining a virtual asset exchange license.”

Furthermore, Huobi HK will work with independent auditors over the next six months to ensure compliance with the SRC’s requirements. During this period, the company will focus on security and anti-money laundering towards a smooth operation of the platform.

Industry Groups Join the Train

Before now, BitMEX and Gate.io introduced their virtual asset trading platforms in Hong Kong last week. As Gate.HK began registrations and trading services on Mary 23rd, and it opened access for users to make virtual assets deposits and withdrawals. Many cryptocurrency companies in Hong Kong have signaled interest in gaining a VASP license, and it appears more are yet to show their faces.

In addition to permitting operators willing to adhere to proposed guidelines in the country, the SFC also said it would protect retail investors. The securities regulator said it would enforce measures such as stability assessments at the onboarding phase and effective governance.

Hong Kong Licensed Virtual Assets Association (HKLVAA) and Web3 Harbour announced their launches on May 29. In a joint statement, Web3 Harbour’s founding chair Gary Liu noted that the shared principles would position Hong Kong as a Web3 innovation capital and virtual assets hub for the world.

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