Hong Kong’s SFC Tightens Crypto Market with New Licensing Regime: What’s Next?

The Hong Kong SFC Securities and Future Commission has 22 big players in the field who have applied for a crypto license to operate as a virtual asset exchange in the city. The list contains mega giants like Crypto.com, OKX and many more. This comes after, the Legislative Council of Hong Kong passed an amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (AMLO), introducing a licensing regime for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) in December 2022.

Hong Kong Ends license application for crypto exchanges

Hong Kong is no longer accepting license applications from cryptocurrency exchanges since February 29 as that was strictly the last day for applying. 

In addition to noting that all non-compliant cryptocurrency exchanges in Hong Kong must close their doors by May 31, 2024, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong encouraged investors utilizing virtual asset trading platforms to switch to licensed platforms if their present platform is not yet licensed.

As for now, crypto exchanges can allow trading of only two crypto coins i.e. Bitcoin and Ether after receiving a license. The SEC is reviewing several other cryptocurrencies and stablecoins before approving them for trading.

Only two exchanges permitted till this date

The SFC has formally granted licenses to just two companies till now. The first one is the OSL Exchange approved on 15/12/2020 and the HashKey Exchange approved on 09/11/2022. 

The 22 applicants on the list, as SFC mentioned, are not guaranteed for approval from the team. They will be set to rigorous compliance with the SFC requirements and if they are met, the applicants might get approved. The SFC Hong Kong will also release a list of crypto exchanges deemed to be licensed as of June 1, 2024. 

HTX (Huobi) withdraws Hong Kong Crypto license application

Cryptocurrency trading platform HTX, formerly Huobi Global, stunned the crypto community with its withdrawal of its license to operate in Hong Kong. Sources say that the withdrawal was for HBGL Hong Kong Limited, which is under the umbrella of Hong Kong’s HTX. HTX withdrew its application on the 23rd of February, three days after the submission of the application.

As SFC carries out the official procedure of approving licenses, the applicants are highly anticipating their acceptance of the application. What do you think will be the companies that will be granted licence?? Comment down below.


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