Hong Kong Attracts 24 Crypto Companies for Licenses


Twenty-Four companies have applied for licenses to operate
digital asset exchanges in Hong Kong, marking a move in the city’s bid to
establish a regulated hub for the industry. Notable applicants include Bybit,
OKX, and Crypto.com.

Among the list of applicants were Gate.io, HTX, and Bullish,
each boasting notable trading volumes in the digital asset sphere. The
application process came with a deadline of February 29th, after which
platforms failing to submit must cease operations by the end of May.

Angela Ang, Senior Policy Adviser at Blockchain Intelligence Firm TRM Labs, Source: LinkedIn

Notably absent from the applicant roster were industry
giants like Binance,
Coinbase, and Kraken.
Industry observers view the application pool as a litmus test for Hong Kong’s
appeal as a digital-asset center, particularly amidst intensifying competition
from other jurisdictions. The city’s nine-month-old virtual-asset regulatory
framework prioritizes investor protection, potentially introducing compliance
costs that could deter some businesses.

“The application list is the litmus test for industry
sentiment,” said Angela Ang, the Senior Policy Adviser at Blockchain Intelligence
Firm TRM Labs. “It’s a good sign to see a number of well-known players in the
mix. What Hong Kong really needs is a number of committed, sizable players to
anchor its ecosystem.”

Ding Chen, the Head of Regulatory Affairs at Bullish,
acknowledged the cost implications of operating a regulated business, drawing
parallels with traditional financial services. Such considerations are factored
into companies’ overall strategies as they navigate Hong Kong’s regulatory landscape.

Over-the-Counter Dominance: Crypto Flows Beyond Digital
Exchanges

Hong Kong’s pivot towards becoming a crypto hub in late 2022
reflects an effort to project a cutting-edge image amid uncertainties about the
city’s future. Presently, HashKey Exchange and OSL Group are the only
authorized digital-asset exchanges operating in Hong Kong.

Gary Tiu, the Head of Regulatory Affairs at OSL, highlighted the
evolving regulatory environment’s impact on business construction and
emphasized the need to assess associated costs.

Despite Hong Kong’s allure as a crypto destination, data
from Chainalysis
indicates that a significant portion of crypto flows into the city occurs
through over-the-counter (OTC) trades rather than digital-asset exchanges.
Regulators have initiated crackdowns on small shops facilitating
cash-to-digital asset exchanges, signaling efforts to streamline oversight.

Hong
Kong is actively exploring regulations for stablecoins and considering
the possibility of allowing exchange-traded funds investing directly in select
cryptocurrencies. In a recent development, the government sold $750 million of
digital green bonds using HSBC Holdings’ tokenization platform, further
underscoring the city’s foray into digital finance.

Twenty-Four companies have applied for licenses to operate
digital asset exchanges in Hong Kong, marking a move in the city’s bid to
establish a regulated hub for the industry. Notable applicants include Bybit,
OKX, and Crypto.com.

Among the list of applicants were Gate.io, HTX, and Bullish,
each boasting notable trading volumes in the digital asset sphere. The
application process came with a deadline of February 29th, after which
platforms failing to submit must cease operations by the end of May.

Angela Ang, Senior Policy Adviser at Blockchain Intelligence Firm TRM Labs, Source: LinkedIn

Notably absent from the applicant roster were industry
giants like Binance,
Coinbase, and Kraken.
Industry observers view the application pool as a litmus test for Hong Kong’s
appeal as a digital-asset center, particularly amidst intensifying competition
from other jurisdictions. The city’s nine-month-old virtual-asset regulatory
framework prioritizes investor protection, potentially introducing compliance
costs that could deter some businesses.

“The application list is the litmus test for industry
sentiment,” said Angela Ang, the Senior Policy Adviser at Blockchain Intelligence
Firm TRM Labs. “It’s a good sign to see a number of well-known players in the
mix. What Hong Kong really needs is a number of committed, sizable players to
anchor its ecosystem.”

Ding Chen, the Head of Regulatory Affairs at Bullish,
acknowledged the cost implications of operating a regulated business, drawing
parallels with traditional financial services. Such considerations are factored
into companies’ overall strategies as they navigate Hong Kong’s regulatory landscape.

Over-the-Counter Dominance: Crypto Flows Beyond Digital
Exchanges

Hong Kong’s pivot towards becoming a crypto hub in late 2022
reflects an effort to project a cutting-edge image amid uncertainties about the
city’s future. Presently, HashKey Exchange and OSL Group are the only
authorized digital-asset exchanges operating in Hong Kong.

Gary Tiu, the Head of Regulatory Affairs at OSL, highlighted the
evolving regulatory environment’s impact on business construction and
emphasized the need to assess associated costs.

Despite Hong Kong’s allure as a crypto destination, data
from Chainalysis
indicates that a significant portion of crypto flows into the city occurs
through over-the-counter (OTC) trades rather than digital-asset exchanges.
Regulators have initiated crackdowns on small shops facilitating
cash-to-digital asset exchanges, signaling efforts to streamline oversight.

Hong
Kong is actively exploring regulations for stablecoins and considering
the possibility of allowing exchange-traded funds investing directly in select
cryptocurrencies. In a recent development, the government sold $750 million of
digital green bonds using HSBC Holdings’ tokenization platform, further
underscoring the city’s foray into digital finance.





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