HashKey obtains first license in Hong Kong to offer crypto retail trading

Quick Take

  • HashKey Exchange became the first in Hong Kong to obtain a license under the city’s new regime, which it rolled out as part of plans to become a global crypto hub.

HashKey Exchange, an Asia-based cryptocurrency financial services group, has become the first outfit in Hong Kong to obtain a license under the city’s new licensing regime, which permits crypto trading platforms to offer retail services.

HashKey, which had previously opted in to a voluntary licensing program in the city, has upgraded its type 1 and type 7 licences and is now allowed to serve retail investors in the city, it tweeted Thursday.

The approval of the license comes only two months after Hong Kong launched its new Virtual Asset Service Provider licensing regime on June 1 in an attempt to become a global hub for the crypto industry.

Hong Kong’s crypto ambition

While neighboring China continues to enforce a mainland ban on crypto transactions as part of a broader crackdown that started in September 2021, Hong Kong has rolled out the welcome mat for crypto firms this year — even going so far as encouraging banks to work with them.


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In October, Hong Kong authorities released a series of policy statements about cryptocurrencies with the goal of strengthening its position as a global financial center. In December, Hong Kong’s Legislative Council passed an amendment introducing a full licensing regime for virtual asset service providers.

Previously, HashKey and OSL were the only two licensed exchanges in the city as part of the authority’s earlier voluntary program.

Under the new rules, crypto trading platforms must obtain a license to serve retail investors in the city.

A Hong Kong government study published in June showed growing concerns over Hong Kong lagging behind its East Asian and Gulf peers in terms of web3 development.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Timmy Shen is an Asia reporter for The Block. Previously, he wrote about crypto and Web3 for Forkast.News from Taiwan after spending more than three years in Beijing covering finance and current affairs at Caixin Global and Chinese tech at TechNode. His China-related reporting has also appeared in The Guardian. When he's not chasing headlines, you'll find him savoring hot pot and shabu shabu in a Taipei local haunt. Timmy holds an MS degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Send tips to [email protected] or get in touch on X/Telegram @timmyhmshen.


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