Chainalysis: Hong Kong and China’s OTC Markets Remain Active Despite Crypto Winter

East Asia represents almost 8.8% of all transactions globally, a report from the research firm says.

AccessTimeIconOct 2, 2023 at 3:57 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 2, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Hong Kong’s active over-the-counter crypto market drove $64 billion in volume, not too far below China’s $86.4 billion, during the last year despite the territory having a much smaller population, and the global chill through crypto markets.

While data shows that the value of transactions in both China and Hong Kong have dropped over the last year because of Beijing's continued strict prohibition on crypto assets and a prolonged downturn in the crypto market, Chainalysis argues that the presence of large OTC markets – and their relative stability in the face of both regional and global decline – shows a certain degree of tolerance by Beijing to crypto.

  • China Is Binance’s Largest Market: WSJ
    China Is Binance’s Largest Market: WSJ
  • Why Bitcoin Miners Have Flocked to Texas
    Why Bitcoin Miners Have Flocked to Texas
  • Sen. Tuberville on Bill to Block Chinese Ownership of American Crypto Companies
    Sen. Tuberville on Bill to Block Chinese Ownership of American Crypto Companies
  • Neil Tan: Hong Kong’s Crypto Push
    Neil Tan: Hong Kong’s Crypto Push
  • “The increasingly close relationship between China and Hong Kong leads some to speculate that Hong Kong's growing status as a crypto hub may signal that the Chinese government is reversing course on digital assets, or at least becoming more open to crypto initiatives,” it said in its report.

    Chainalysis said that Hong Kong dominates in large institutional crypto transactions compared to other Asian regions. Its data shows that 46.8% of Hong Kong's annual crypto trades were institutional transactions exceeding $10 million, while retail trades under $10,000 accounted for just 4% of the City’s volume, marginally below the global average of 4.7%


    On the other hand, South Korea leans heavily on retail trading on centralized exchanges, with “professional” traders between $10,000 and $1 million in transaction volume making up 40% of volume.

    Japan's transaction breakdown aligns closely with global trends, balancing centralized exchanges with DeFi protocols.

    Edited by Stephen Alpher.


    Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

    CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

    Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.