Hong Kong has taken a significant step towards expanding cryptocurrency trading access to individual investors, as local digital asset firms HashKey and OSL secure regulatory approval to offer services to retail users.
HashKey’s Regulatory Milestone
On August 3, HashKey announced that it had obtained all necessary licensing to extend its operations from catering solely to professional investors to including retail investors. This milestone was made possible by upgrading two major licenses issued by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).
The first license, Type 1, allows HashKey to operate a virtual asset trading platform, adhering to Hong Kong’s securities laws. The second, Type 7, enables the firm to provide automated trading services to both institutional and retail users.
In addition to becoming one of the first licensed exchanges to offer retail crypto trading in Hong Kong, HashKey also launched its crypto over-the-counter (OTC) trading service, HashKey Brokerage. This OTC platform complies with local securities laws, following the SFC’s adoption of a new crypto regulatory framework.
HashKey Group’s Chief Operating Officer, Livio Weng, expressed confidence in the establishment of licensed trading platforms and the improved regulatory clarity in Hong Kong. He anticipates increased transparency, leading to enhanced investor confidence across the industry.
OSL Joins the Retail Crypto Trading Landscape
Not to be outdone, OSL, another local crypto firm, announced on the same day, August 3, that it had received an uplift to its existing license from the SFC. This development allows OSL to offer Bitcoin and facilitate access to digital assets for retail investors.
OSL’s co-founder, Dave Chapman, emphasized that they have been fully regulated for virtual asset trading by the SFC since 2020, and the recent licensing uplift paves the way for broader services to retail investors.
Hong Kong’s Crypto Trading Landscape Takes Shape
This news follows an earlier statement by an executive from Hang Seng Bank, a Hong Kong-based institution, indicating that crypto companies could only open bank accounts after obtaining an approval-in-principle license from the SFC. As of early August, OSL and HashKey were reportedly the only exchanges to have received this approval, solidifying their position in the growing retail crypto trading space in Hong Kong.