Crypto Exchanges Are Flocking to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is “rich in tycoons and well-capitalized family offices that could fund crypto firms moving into the city,” Matrixport’s head of research told Blockworks

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Tsim Sha Tsui, a very popular shopping street in Hong Kong | TungCheung/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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Hong Kong’s renewed embrace of crypto has ignited a wave of excitement among exchanges, with several now vying to seize potential opportunities presented by the city-state.

These are a few companies that have shown interest in being part of Hong Kong’s dynamic market:

Huobi just revealed its plans to launch a trading platform in Hong Kong on May 26. They’re all set to provide crypto trading services, including BTC and ETH, to users in the near future.

The firm’s goal is to enter the market in a compliant and regulated way, which will help boost the development of Hong Kong’s Web3 ecosystem.

Swiss-registered Gate Group, the firm behind exchange Gate.io, is also onboard. It just launched Gate.HK, a platform that opened for registration and trading on May 23. 

Just like Huobi, Gate.HK is in the process of licensing with Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). Crypto-focused financial services provider Amber Group, hailing from Singapore, is also reportedly considering making a move to Hong Kong. 

OKX and BitMEX are as well — the former already services local traders via its exchange app, while BitMEX’s platform will open up to Hong Kong users on Monday. The fintech arm of Chinese real estate developer Greenland has even reportedly shown interest in crypto now that Hong Kong has come around.

Hong Kong’s securities regulator has implemented tougher rules for digital asset companies, including a crypto licensing regime, starting from June 1. 

This development allows for retail trading in cryptocurrencies following a challenging year for the industry, still dogged by the collapse of FTX crypto exchange. 

Hong Kong is a ‘gold rush’ for crypto platforms

To comply with the new regulations, all trading platforms and exchanges are required to apply for a license, failure of which may result in fines and potential imprisonment.

Markus Thielen, head of research at Matrixport, believes that with the government and financial regulator’s approval, Hong Kong has the potential to reclaim its status as the leading crypto hub in Asia.

Hong Kong is the world’s “most convenient and hassle-free” city, located centrally in Asia, Thielen said.

“There is now a gold rush from international crypto firms to serve Hong Kong-based retail investors actively engaging in high-volatility products such as warrants and other derivative contracts. With nearly 100 local billionaires, the city is rich in tycoons and well-capitalized family offices that could fund crypto firms moving into the city.”

According to Matteo Greco, an analyst at blockchain investment firm Fineqia, Hong Kong’s regulatory approach appears to foster a more cooperative and supportive environment for crypto businesses compared to countries like the US or China, the latter of which has restrictions on bitcoin trading.

Still, challenges persist and it is premature to determine whether the ultimate outcome will be favorable. For instance, there are still instances where Hong Kong banks are declining requests from crypto businesses to open local bank accounts, Greco said.


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