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HashKey Becomes the First Crypto Exchange to Serve Retail Customers in Hong Kong

3 mins
Updated by Michael Washburn
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In Brief

  • Hong Kong-based HashKey Exchange receives two licenses to serve retail users as well as professional investors.
  • HashKey also launched HashKey Brokerage, the first compliant OPT service in Hong Kong after the new regulatory framework.
  • New retail exchanges will have to comply with strict capital requirements and anti-money laundering measures.
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HashKey has become the first crypto exchange to offer retail trading to customers in Hong Kong, as the semi-autonomous Chinese city opens up to crypto.

The exchange confirmed on August 3 that the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission granted them a license update. Now the Hong Kong-based exchange holds both  The change will enable HashKey to serve retail users, as well as professional investors. 

HashKey the First of Many Exchanges Expected to Enter Retail Trading

The exchange obtained its inaugural license last November, becoming one of only two licensed crypto exchanges in Hong Kong, alongside rival OSL.

HashKey obtained two licenses from the regulator, according to the announcement. The first license, Type 1, permits the operation of a virtual asset trading platform under Hong Kong’s securities laws. The second license, Type 7, allows the firm to provide automated trading services to both institutional and retail users.

There are plenty of choices when it comes to trading your digital assets. Learn how to pick the best place to do it: How to Choose The Right Crypto Exchange

Livio Weng, COO of HashKey Group, said in a statement that Hong Kong’s opening up to the crypto industry was a positive step for investors. 

“With the establishment of licenced trading platforms and the further clarity of regulatory frameworks in Hong Kong, the industry as a whole will witness increased transparency, leading to a significant boost in investor confidence,” she said.

HashKey Exchange also launched HashKey Brokerage on the same day, the first compliant OPT service in Hong Kong. This comes after the Securities and Futures Commission implemented the new virtual asset exchange regulatory framework in June. The platform offers high liquidity bulk trading for investors and high-net-worth clients.

Hong Kong Skyline.
Hong Kong, already a regional economic power, is looking to become a fintech hub. Source: momo.

New Rules for Hong Kong Exchanges Came Into Force on June 1

Trading of cryptocurrencies in the Chinese semi-autonomous city has been restricted to institutional investors since 2018. However, The new licensing rules for crypto exchanges were published on 20 February and came into force on June 1. The entry of HashKey into the crypto retail trading space is expected to be the first of many. 

Exchanges hoping to obtain a license will need capital of at least 5 million Hong Kong dollars ($640,000), measures to combat money laundering, and the appointment of experienced managers.

Although, just because the city’s regulators have loosened their grip, it doesn’t mean that anything goes. There will still be restrictions on certain activities, including a ban on “gift” airdrops to entice customers. The city is hoping its new liberalization will help position the economic powerhouse as a fintech hub.

BeInCrypto has reached out to HashKey for comment on this story.

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Josh Adams
Josh is a reporter at BeInCrypto. He first worked as a journalist over a decade ago, initially covering music before moving into politics and current affairs. Josh first owned Bitcoin in 2014 and has followed the space ever since. He is particularly interested in Web3 adoption, policy and regulation, CBDCs, privacy, and the future of the metaverse.
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