Hong Kong to disclose crypto license applicants in wake of JPEX probes

Quick Take

  • Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission said today that it will also issue a dedicated list of suspicious trading platforms.

Hong Kong will reveal a list of firms that have applied for its newly launched retail crypto trading licenses in the wake of the controversy surrounding JPEX, authorities said today.

The Securities and Futures Commission said in a statement that it will publish a list of licensed virtual asset trading platforms (VATPs), a list of closing-down VATPs, a list of VATPs deemed licensed as of June 1, 2024 and a list of VATP applicants “in light of public demand.”

“To help the public more easily identify suspicious VATPs doing business in Hong Kong and enhance awareness, the SFC will enhance and issue a dedicated list of suspicious VATPs which is easily accessible and with prominence on the SFC’s website,” the SFC said.

Elizabeth Wong, Director of Licensing and Head of Fintech Unit, Intermediaries of the SFC, said today at a press briefing that the publication of the list of applicants allows the public to scrutinize whether a particular platform has made false statements regarding license applications, adding that there are currently four companies in the preliminary process of applying for licenses, according to local media RTHK.

Police enforcement


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The SFC’s move comes after the regulator warned on Sept. 13 that crypto influencers and the trading platform JPEX had “made false or misleading statements on social media” by suggesting the firm had applied for a virtual asset trading license in Hong Kong.

Last week, Hong Kong police raided 20 locations related to JPEX operations and arrested at least 11 individuals in a police force action dubbed “tieguan” or “iron gate.” The authorities have also asked local telecoms providers to block online access to JPEX.

In response to the police action, JPEX said last week that it received “unfair treatment” from the authorities. In another announcement on Sunday, JPEX called for its users in Hong Kong to “temporarily cease depositing new assets and crypto-assets into the platform.”

“It is very encouraging that Hong Kong is ready to take enforcement action on unlicensed and criminal activities, and it is likewise very positive to see that also those individuals who have coerced often uninformed investors to trade on JPEX, so-called ‘KOLs’ and ‘influencers,’ are held liable for their actions,” Donald Day, chief operating officer of Hong Kong-based crypto platform VDX, told The Block in a statement.

© 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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