Hong Kong’s HashKey crypto exchange launches global platform with aim of overtaking Coinbase in 5 years

Hong Kong’s biggest licensed cryptocurrency exchange operator, HashKey Group, has launched a new global trading platform that it hopes will help the company overtake US-based crypto giant Coinbase in trading volume within five years.

The new cryptocurrency exchange, HashKey Global, operates with a Digital Asset Business licence issued in Bermuda. It is now available globally with one big caveat: for regulatory reasons, certain markets like the US, mainland China and Hong Kong cannot use it, HashKey Group chief operating officer (COO) Livio Weng said in an interview on Saturday on the sidelines of the Hong Kong Web3 Festival, a crypto conference organised by the company.
The company, established in Hong Kong in 2018, operates the local HashKey Exchange, which was approved by the city’s securities regulator last August to serve retail investors under the city’s new crypto regulatory regime. The exchange can so far only offer bitcoin and ether for retail trading.

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HashKey Exchange now has more than 170,000 registered users, Weng said on Saturday. It hosted about US$35 million in 24-hour trading volume on Monday, according to market tracker CoinGecko, which ranks the platform 15th according to a trust score that tries to measure legitimacy of trading data. However, HashKey’s volume is still a trickle compared with some of the world’s largest exchanges.

Binance had US$6.3 billion in 24-hour normalised trading volume by mid-day on Monday, while OKX recorded more than US$2.1 billion, CoinGecko shows.

HashKey is hoping that a new global exchange will supercharge its market position. Weng said the company intends to have more trading volume than Coinbase, the largest US crypto exchange, across all HashKey Group platforms by 2029.

“We have seen their data and we don’t think that’ll be difficult,” Weng said.

The global exchange could be particularly appealing to overseas Chinese and investors across Asian markets that do not block offshore crypto exchanges, according to the COO.

Facing intense competition from existing crypto exchanges around the world, HashKey Global has an advantage as a compliant platform that also offers a smooth experience, Weng said.

Most of the world’s major exchanges are either “easy to use but not compliant”, or “compliant but hard to use”, he said.


The cryptocurrency scandal gripping Hong Kong

The cryptocurrency scandal gripping Hong Kong

HashKey Group – whose businesses include the investment firm HashKey Capital and an asset-management arm – is among a range of cryptocurrency companies banking on Hong Kong’s embrace of the virtual asset industry.

While public perception of the sector took a plunge last year following high-profile scandals – including the collapse of FTX in late 2022 and a local fraud involving the lesser known JPEX exchange a year later – confidence has rebounded in recent months after a surge in bitcoin prices in the new year. It hit a new record of more than US$73,000 last month.

Apart from a mandatory licensing regime for crypto exchanges, Hong Kong is also moving to regulate stablecoins and over-the-counter cryptocurrency shops. Many are also anticipating an imminent approval of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds in the city.


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