Justin Sun Predicts Huobi May Get Hong Kong License in 6 to 12 Months

He says other exchanges, including OKX, Gate.io, Bitget and ByBit might also apply for a license.

AccessTimeIconJun 2, 2023 at 2:13 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 7, 2023 at 4:52 p.m. UTC

Crypto exchange Huobi could receive a crypto trading license in Hong Kong as soon as the end of the year and likely by June 2024, Huobi advisor and Tron founder Justin Sun said on CoinDesk TV on Friday, June 2.

As of Nov. 7, Huobi Hong Kong had yet to submit an application, but intends to do so "in the future," Gary Lee, a member of the exchange's compliance team, told CoinDesk that day.

In the June 2 interview, Sun said the exchange submitted an application to become a virtual asset service provider (VASP) the prior week; a spokesperson for Huobi, which since then had rebranded itself HTX, later said he misspoke. There is an 18-month grace period in which regulators can approve or deny the application. But Sun said on June 2 that he saw the possibility of faster action.

"Right now we predict probably we will have the license in the next six to 12 months," he said during the interview.

The exchange recently moved its headquarters from Singapore to Hong Kong in hopes of launching Huobi Hong Kong after the city said it is looking to become a virtual asset hub as soon as this summer.

While it’s unknown if any other Asia-based crypto exchanges have applied for a similar license, Sun said he could see five to six other players also making the move, including OKX, Gate.io, Bitget and ByBit.

When asked about possibly competing with Coinbase and Kraken in Canada, Sun said Huobi has no plans to operate in the country given its strict regulatory requirements.

“I’ll work on all the friendly jurisdictions first,” Sun said, referring to the Caribbean, Hong Kong, and Japan in general.

UPDATE (June 2, 2023, 16:53 UTC): Adds direct quote from Sun describing his prediction for the timing of a license.

UPDATE (Nov. 7, 2023, 16:40 UTC): Corrects mistaken statement by Sun in second paragraph.

Edited by Nelson Wang and Marc Hochstein.


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Helene Braun

Helene is a New York-based reporter covering Wall Street, the rise of the spot bitcoin ETFs and crypto exchanges. She is also the co-host of CoinDesk's Markets Daily show. Helene is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program and has appeared on CBS News, YahooFinance and Nasdaq TradeTalks. She holds BTC and ETH.