Hong Kong debuts retail crypto trading with HashKey exchange

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Hong Kong is expanding cryptocurrency trading exposure to individual investors, with at least one exchange getting the regulatory green light to offer such services.

Local digital asset firm HashKey has successfully obtained all necessary licensing to expand its business from serving professional investors to taking on retail users.

HashKey’s new regulatory milestone has been enabled through the upgrade of two major licenses issued by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

The first license, known as Type 1, allows HashKey to operate a virtual asset trading platform under Hong Kong’s securities laws. The second one, Type 7, officially enables the firm to provide automated trading services to both institutional and retail users, the announcement notes.

In addition to becoming one of the first licensed exchanges to offer retail crypto trading in Hong Kong, HashKey has also officially launched its crypto over-the-counter (OTC) trading service, HashKey Brokerage. The OTC platform is said to be compliant with local securities laws following the adoption of a new crypto regulatory framework by the SFC.

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HashKey Group chief operating officer Livio Weng expressed confidence in the establishment of licensed trading platforms and the further clarity of regulatory frameworks in Hong Kong. He added:

“The industry as a whole will witness increased transparency, leading to a significant boost in investor confidence.”

The news comes soon after an executive at a Hong Kong bank, Hang Seng Bank, argued that crypto companies can only open bank accounts after obtaining the approval-in-principle (AIP) license from the Hong Kong SFC. By early August, OSL and Hashkey were reportedly the only exchanges that received such approval.

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