Exhausive list of licensed crypto exchange providers and applicants in Hong Kong

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7th June 2024 – (Hong Kong) 17 crypto trading platforms have applied for licenses in Hong Kong, according to the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). This development comes as the dust settles on the 29th February deadline for license applications, signalling a new era of regulatory compliance and investor protection in the city’s virtual asset landscape.

The SFC’s Transitional Arrangements for Virtual Asset Trading Platforms require all platforms operating in Hong Kong to submit their license applications by 29th February, 2024. Failure to comply will result in the platform ceasing operations in Hong Kong by 31st May, 2024. The regulator has emphasised the importance of verifying platforms’ regulatory status through the official website, which lists licensed virtual asset trading platforms and applicants.

OSL Digital Securities Limited (OSL) and HashKey Digital Asset Group Limited (HashKey) are the two licensed crypto service providers in Hong Kong, offering regulated digital asset trading services to institutional and professional investors. OSL became the first Type 1 SFC-licensed digital asset broker to distribute security tokens in Hong Kong, while HashKey obtained a license to operate a virtual asset trading platform.

The 17 crypto trading platform applicants in Hong Kong are:

  1. Hong Kong BGE Limited (BGE)
  2. HKbitEX
  3. HKVAX
  4. VDX
  5. PantherTrade
  6. Accumulus GBA Technology (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd.
  7. DFX Labs Company Limited
  8. Bixin.com
  9. Thousand Whales Technology (BVI) Limited (xWhale)
  10. HighBlock Limited (bitV)
  11. YAX
  12. Bullish (GI) Limited
  13. Foris DAX HK Limited (Crypto.com)
  14. Whalefin
  15. Matrixport
  16. hi5 (Hong Kong) Limited
  17. Bitcoin World Technology Limited (BitUniverse) 

Notably, some platforms have withdrawn their license applications, including BitMEX, a popular cryptocurrency exchange. According to the SFC, BitMEX voluntarily withdrew its application on 13th March, 2024, citing a shift in business strategy.

The SFC’s regulatory efforts aim to enhance investor protection and market integrity by mandating comprehensive application requirements. These include management experience, industry qualifications, and external attestations. The rules also specify token admission criteria, anti-money laundering (AML) requirements, and prohibitions on proprietary trading. Additionally, platforms must have adequate insurance or compensation arrangements to mitigate custodial risks.