Crypto exchanges, OKX retreat from Hong Kong licensing efforts

Two prominent global exchanges’ subsidiaries — and OKX — have withdrawn their applications for an operational license in Hong Kong in the last two days.

This decision reflects a broader trend, as eight firms—including exchanges backed by Binance and HTX—have also abandoned their licensing efforts in the city-state, according to a notice on the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) website.

Meanwhile, the regulator is still reviewing applications from several other crypto exchanges, including, Bullish, and Matrixport. Notably, the SFC has approved licenses for only two exchanges in the region, OSL and HashKey.

OKX bows out

In a May 24 notice, Hong Kong-based crypto exchange OKX HK announced the withdrawal of its application for a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license in the region. The exchange stated:

“OKX will cease to provide centralized virtual asset trading services to Hong Kong residents by 31 May 2024 (Friday) in accordance with regulatory requirements. Customer funds remain safe and withdrawal services will not be affected. After 31 May 2024, customers will only be able to withdraw.”

Consequently, OKX advised its customers to refrain from making deposits after May 31, as these deposits may not be processed automatically. The exchange also set an Aug. 31 deadline for users to withdraw their assets from its platform.

Gate.HK application withdrawal

Similarly,’s Hong Kong unit announced on May 23 that it had withdrawn its application for a virtual asset trading platform license.

The firm explained that the decision was part of a comprehensive platform overhaul strategy that would halt the registration of new users, deposits, and marketing activities in Hong Kong. Additionally, the platform intends to delist all major tokens, including Bitcoin, Polkadot, Ethereum, and others.

The platform said it will cease all trading services by May 28 and advised users to withdraw their assets before Aug. 28.

Launched in 2023, Gate.HK submitted its license application to the SFC in February in compliance with new regulations mandating that exchanges serving Hong Kong customers must obtain an operational license in the region.

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Posted In: Hong Kong, Exchanges

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