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One of Hong Kong’s Only Licensed Crypto Exchanges Could Be Up for Sale

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • BC Technology Group is considering selling its licensed crypto platform, OSL, due to a market slump and the city's strict digital-asset rules.
  • Despite current challenges, BC Technology's market value has more than doubled to nearly HK$1.7 billion since August, but it's still down over 80% from June 2021.
  • Amid regulatory challenges and an uncertain future for crypto exchanges in Hong Kong, BC Technology may sell parts of OSL rather than the entire business.
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Amid a market slump and weakened digital asset trading volume, BC Technology Group Ltd. is contemplating the sale of its licensed crypto platform, OSL. This Hong Kong-based crypto exchange is one of the few entities operating under the city’s stringent digital-asset rules, introduced in June.

As potential buyers, industry players and funds have shown interest, with a proposed valuation hovering around $HK1 billion ($128 million).

Licensed Hong Kong Crypto Exchange Courting Potential Buyers

OSL, a subsidiary of BC Technology, offers a range of services, including prime brokerage, exchange, and custody for crypto markets. It also provides infrastructure to financial institutions for virtual-asset trading.

Despite the current challenges, BC Technology’s market value has more than doubled to nearly HK$1.7 billion since August this year. However, it’s still down over 80% from its record high in June 2021 during the crypto market peak.

OSL parent Company BC Technology Stock Price. Source: TradingView
OSL parent Company BC Technology Stock Price. Source: TradingView

The potential sale comes at a challenging time for crypto exchanges in Hong Kong. Last year’s market rout and ensuing bankruptcies have left crypto demand weak. The city’s strict digital-asset framework has also resulted in higher operational costs.

The reputation of the sector has been further tarnished by the scandal involving the unlicensed JPEX exchange, which authorities allege defrauded investors of HK$1.6 billion.

Read more: Coinbase Review 2023: The Best CryptoExchange for Beginners?

Hong Kong SFC Cracks Down

In response to these issues, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has partnered with the Hong Kong Police Force to establish a task force. This group aims to combat illicit activities among crypto exchanges, including a comprehensive risk assessment for platforms deemed “suspicious.”

The task force comprises members from various Hong Kong authorities, including the HKPF’s Commercial Crime Bureau, Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau, Financial Intelligence and Investigations Bureau, as well as the SFC’s Enforcement Division and Intermediaries Division.

The task force’s formation follows a high-level meeting between the two parties on September 28, 2023. In a statement, the SFC declared,

“The working group was established to enhance collaboration in monitoring and investigating illegal activities related to Virtual Asset Trading Platforms (VATPs).”

As regulatory actions intensify, the future of crypto exchanges in Hong Kong, including OSL, remains uncertain. Amid these challenges, BC Technology may opt to sell parts of OSL rather than the whole business. However, the final decision is yet to be made.

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