Hong Kong’s crypto licensing draws local financial giants


  • Hong Kong’s financial sector is rapidly embracing cryptocurrency trading, with traditional brokers and financial institutions seeking crypto licenses.
  • Tiger Brokers expanded its license to include crypto trading for professional investors, with plans to extend services to retail clients and explore international markets.
  • Victory Securities and OSL Exchange have also obtained licenses to offer crypto trading services, signaling growing investor interest in cryptocurrencies.

Less than a year since the Hong Kong gave the green light to cryptocurrency exchanges, there’s been a notable rush among established financial entities and brokerage firms to secure their spot in the crypto market. This move signals a broader acceptance and integration of cryptocurrencies within the region’s financial ecosystem, setting the stage for a transformative period in Hong Kong’s approach to digital finance.

Following the regulatory approval, Tiger Brokers, a prominent Chinese stock brokerage, made strategic moves to expand its Type 1 Hong Kong Securities & Futures Commission (SFC) license. This expansion now encompasses cryptocurrency trading for professional investors and financial institutions within Hong Kong. The brokerage, boasting an impressive portfolio of 865,500 funded accounts and managing assets worth $18.9 billion, is at the forefront of integrating cryptoassets into its trading services. Tiger Brokers’ ambition doesn’t stop at current offerings; the firm is actively exploring the addition of altcoins and expanding its market reach to include retail clients, pending regulatory nods. Their plan extends beyond local borders, eyeing international markets like Australia, the U.S., and the U.K., among others.

The Race for Regulation

Victory Securities, another heavyweight in the Hong Kong brokerage arena, followed suit by securing an SFC license to cater to the retail market with cryptocurrency trading services. The firm reported a significant uptick in virtual asset transactions and new customer sign-ups, demonstrating the growing appetite for cryptocurrencies among investors. In a similar vein, OSL Exchange, a licensed crypto exchange in Hong Kong, partnered with Interactive Brokers to facilitate Bitcoin and Ethereum trades for retail investors, marking a significant step towards democratizing access to cryptocurrencies.

Moreover, the city is on the verge of concluding the one-year transition period for its virtual asset service provider (VASP) licensing regime. This regulatory milestone is crucial for the city’s crypto market, with industry stalwarts like HashKey Exchange and OSL Exchange already securing their licenses. The impending deadline has spurred a flurry of activity among 17 companies, including giants like Crypto.com and Tiger Brokers, all vying for the VASP license.

Expanding Horizons

The synergy between traditional financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges is a pivotal development in Hong Kong’s crypto sector. This collaborative approach is exemplified by partnerships like that between OSL Exchange and Interactive Brokers, which aim to bridge the gap between conventional finance and the crypto world. The commitment to compliance and infrastructure development, potentially requiring investments upwards of $25 million, reflects the industry’s long-term confidence in Hong Kong’s cryptocurrency market.

Parallel to these developments, Hong Kong’s de facto central bank, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), has outlined its intentions to align the city’s banking sector with international standards for cryptoasset reserve requirements. This move, based on guidelines from the international Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, categorizes cryptoassets into four groups, dictating the capital reserves banks must maintain. This initiative positions Hong Kong as a pioneer in adopting global standards for crypto regulation, offering a clearer regulatory landscape for banks dealing with cryptocurrencies.

The consultation process spearheaded by the HKMA, open until May 6, with implementation slated for mid-2025, adds another layer to Hong Kong’s comprehensive regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. This is part of a broader effort to regulate the issuance and sale of stablecoins, requiring a license for serving retail investors. The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) also plays a crucial role, mandating licenses for the sale of virtual assets to retail investors, ensuring that crypto exchanges operate within a regulated and secure environment.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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