Hong Kong crypto exchange HashKey launches app, targets retail users

Quick Take

  • HashKey COO Livio Weng said that the exchange plans to mint its own HSK utility token and may list it next year.

HashKey Exchange, an Asia-based cryptocurrency exchange with operations in Hong Kong, officially launched its app for retail trading today as it expands its presence in Hong Kong.

In an interview with The Block, Livio Weng, HashKey’s chief operating officer, said that HashKey has received approval from the Securities and Futures Commission to launch the app to serve both professional investors and retail users.

The app launch comes after the exchange started to offer retail trading services on its website on Aug. 28.

“We’ve recorded large trading volume since we began to serve retail users,” Weng said, adding that the daily trading volume reached over $100 million on Oct. 30 alone, with the volume of trading pairs BTC-USD, ETH-USD, BTC-HKD and ETH-HKD amounting to over $2.7 million.

The app is particularly essential for running a retail trading platform, according to Weng. “Generally speaking, about 85% of users trade via apps, according to our research,” he said.

Stringent supervision 

The SFC has appeared to take a more stringent approach when overseeing crypto exchanges following the alleged fraud scandal of the JPEX crypto exchange. Earlier this month, the SFC said that it had updated its regulatory framework with two additional investor protection measures.

Weng said that the SFC has started to check its app since July with the company submitting several rounds of supplementary materials for the review.

HashKey currently allows users from 17 jurisdictions — including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Israel, the U.K. and the U.S. — to link their bank cards to deposit via fiat currency with the exchange. “We support deposits made in Hong Kong dollars and U.S. dollars,” Weng said.

HSK token mint


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HashKey also plans to mint its own ERC-20 utility token dubbed HSK, Weng said. 

The HSK token is expected to be used as a tool that incentivizes contributors across HashKey's ecosystem to “fuel the growth of the entire ecosystem,” the exchange’s website said. HashKey plans to mint a total of 1 billion HSK tokens with 65% of them dedicated to ecosystem growth, 30% to staff incentives and 5% to the company’s insurance vault, according to its whitepaper.

Weng added that the exchange also plans to list HSK but that may not take place until the middle of next year.

Exploring real-world asset tokenization

HashKey is also exploring realistic practices for real-world asset tokenization (RWA) as discussions surrounding such a new asset class have gained traction lately, according to Weng.

“RWA is becoming an important strength for regulated exchanges,” Weng said. “If you want to pursue ‘effective RWA,’ then you have to do it through licensed exchanges.”

Weng explained that HashKey is licensed to issue and trade security tokens in Hong Kong and the company is “exploring two important RWA cases that may bring huge impact to the market.”

“We’re in talks with the SFC [for RWA cases] right now,” Weng said, adding that the negotiations with the regulator have reached “the latter half phase.”

© 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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