Hong Kong Officially Opens Crypto Trading to Retail Investors, Grants First Licenses to HashKey, OSL

OSL Digital Securities said retail investors can register to trade BTC and ETH effective immediately.

AccessTimeIconAug 3, 2023 at 7:09 a.m. UTC
Updated Aug 3, 2023 at 3:43 p.m. UTC
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HashKey Exchange and OSL Digital Securities Ltd. have won Hong Kong's first crypto exchange licenses under a new regime that allows exchanges to serve retail customers.

HashKey Exchange, a unit of digital asset financial-services firm HashKey Group, announced the license on Thursday, saying it can now expand its business scope to retail users in addition to the professional investors it has been serving. The announcement was followed by another from OSL Digital Securities, a subsidiary of Hong Kong's BC Technology Group Ltd, that it also had obtained a license to serve retail customers.

The two entities already had licenses from Hong Kong's previous opt-in licensing regime for crypto asset service providers, which may have helped expedite the new approvals.

"As an existing Type 1 and Type 7 licenses holder, HashKey Exchange successfully underwent a simplified process to obtain the license upgrade ... to expand its business scope from serving professional investors to retail users, fulfilling market demand for a licensed platform that offers users a safer and simpler process for buying and storing cryptocurrencies," the exchange said.

Earlier, the HashKey Group announced plans to introduce a regulated exchange in the second quarter to serve retail customers and said it planned to raise funds at a $1 billion valuation to capitalize on Hong Kong's re-emergence as a potential crypto hub.

"Effective immediately, OSL Digital Securities offers retail investors the ability to register on its platform and access digital asset products, starting with the popular cryptocurrencies bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH)," a press statement from the exchange said.

The Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong, which is responsible for issuing the license, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update (Aug 3, 11:57 UTC): Updates headline, text to reflect OSL also receiving approval.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh is CoinDesk's regulatory reporter covering India. He holds BTC and ETH below CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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