Crypto Exchange Huobi Global to Move Spot Trading Services to Gibraltar

The exchange believes that operating under a licensed entity will appeal to institutional investors.

Nov 8, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 8, 2021 at 5:04 p.m. UTC

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi Global will move its spot trading services to Gibraltar, after receiving approval from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) to begin the transition, the exchange said in a press release shared with CoinDesk.

  • The exchange, which was founded in China and received a Gibraltar operating license in 2018, is likely looking for a new home away from Chinese regulators. Huobi moved significant portions of its operations to Singapore when Chinese regulators launched a renewed crackdown on crypto trading on Sept. 24, CoinDesk reported. It later announced it would expel its Chinese users.
  • The exchange will be migrating its existing spot trading users, tech infrastructure and cloud hosting to a licensed entity in Gibraltar, a Huobi spokesperson told CoinDesk via email.
  • Huobi currently has “no plans to move the majority of its operations” to the territory, but might add staff to Gibraltar operations “depending on how the [user] migration goes,” the spokesperson said.
  • Huobi will serve global customers from its Gibraltar base, the spokesperson said. The company claims to be pursuing a “decentralized” global structure with no particular headquarters.
  • A Huobi subsidiary, Huobi Technology (Gibraltar) Co. Ltd., received a distributed ledger technology license (DLT) from the GFSC, which allows the company to use DLT technology to store or transmit value belonging to others, the press release said.
  • In addition to these services, Huobi Gibraltar is also allowed to “operate a secondary market venue for trading virtual assets” and provide brokerage services, according to the GFSC registry.
  • This is the first time Huobi Global will move its spot trading services to a regulated entity, the press release said. The exchange believes that operating under a licensed entity will appeal to institutional investors, according to the release.
  • The Gibraltar entity was previously a crypto brokerage for institutional investors and high net worth individuals, and also provided retail over-the-counter trading services, according to the press release. It was incorporated in 2017, according to the GFSC registry.
  • Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the southernmost tip of the Iberian peninsula, where Spain and Portugal are located.
  • Huobi co-founder Du Jun told the Financial Times on Monday that 30% of the exchange’s revenue comes from China.

UPDATE (Nov. 8, 16:09 UTC): Adds date of license grant in first bullet point, clarifies permit in first paragraph.



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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.