Hong Kong is expanding cryptocurrency trading exposure to individual investors, with at least one exchange getting the regulatory green light to offer the services.
Local digital asset firm HashKey has successfully obtained all necessary licensing to expand its business from serving professional investors to taking on retail users, the firm announced on Aug. 3.
HashKey’s new regulatory milestone has been enabled by upgrading two major licenses issued by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).
The first license, Type 1, allows HashKey to operate a virtual asset trading platform under Hong Kong’s securities laws. The second one, Type 7, officially enables the firm to provide automated trading services to both institutional and retail users, the announcement notes.
In addition to becoming one of the first licensed exchanges to offer retail crypto trading in Hong Kong, HashKey has also officially launched its crypto over-the-counter (OTC) trading service, HashKey Brokerage. The OTC platform is said to comply with local securities laws following the adoption of a new crypto regulatory framework by the SFC.
HashKey Group chief operating officer Livio Weng expressed confidence in the establishment of licensed trading platforms and the further clarity of regulatory frameworks in Hong Kong. He added:
“The industry as a whole will witness increased transparency, leading to a significant boost in investor confidence.”
HashKey isn't the only crypto exchange that is now fully ready to offer crypto trading to Hong Konh retail users in legal terms. OSL, another local crypto firm, on Aug. 3 also announced that it received an uplift to its existing license from the SFC, allowing to offer Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) trading to retail investors immediately.
"We have been fully regulated for virtual asset trading by the SFC since 2020," OSL co-founder Dave Chapman told Cointelegraph. He stressed that the latest licensing uplift allows OSL to facilitate access to digital assets for retail investors.
The news comes soon after an executive at the Hong Kong-based Hang Seng Bank argued that crypto companies can only open bank accounts after obtaining an approval-in-principle license from the SFC. By early August, OSL and Hashkey were reportedly the only exchanges that received approval.