SEBA Hong Kong Gains Preliminary Approval for Crypto-Related Services

SEBA Hong Kong, a subsidiary of Swiss-based SEBA Bank AG, has been granted an “Approval-in-Principle” (AIP) by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). This preliminary approval positions SEBA Hong Kong to become one of the first licensed corporations in the city to offer crypto-related investment services.

Regulatory Green Light for Crypto Services

The AIP allows SEBA Hong Kong to proceed with its license application for conducting regulated activities in the city. The scope of the license includes dealing in securities and virtual assets-related products such as OTC derivatives and structured products. Additionally, the firm is authorized to advise on securities and virtual assets and manage discretionary accounts in both traditional and digital assets.

“The AIP marks a significant leap forward in SEBA group’s mission to secure the future of the global crypto economy and, in turn, validates SEBA Hong Kong’s position in the market as a trusted and regulated partner,” said Franz Bergmueller, Group CEO of SEBA Bank.

A Strategic Move in Asia Pacific

The AIP is a crucial step in SEBA Hong Kong’s broader Asia Pacific strategy. The firm aims to offer wealth management, investment, and advisory services with the security and customer experience that accompanies a regulated institution. “This AIP signifies that all our efforts are heading in the right direction,” commented Amy Yu, CEO APAC of SEBA Hong Kong.

Aligning with Global Regulatory Standards

SEBA Bank already holds licenses from Swiss regulatory body FINMA and Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA). The Hong Kong AIP “significantly extends our global regulatory footprint,” Bergmueller noted.

Market Implications

The move is indicative of Hong Kong’s growing role in the global crypto economy and sets a precedent for regulatory standards in the digital asset space. “We see enormous potential in Hong Kong’s journey to becoming a global crypto market leader,” said Yu.

 SFC’s Comprehensive Virtual Asset Framework

The SFC has been a pioneer among major jurisdictions in establishing a comprehensive regulatory framework for virtual assets, commonly referred to as cryptocurrencies. Under the guiding principle of “same business, same risks, same rules,” the SFC aims to regulate various virtual asset-related activities. These include the operation of virtual asset trading platforms, fund management, and advising or dealing in virtual assets. The regulatory body’s approach aims to balance investor protection, market integrity, and risk management for financial institutions.

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Coinsfera Enables Users to Trade USDT in UAE through OTC

Coinsfera, the global over-the-counter(OTC) digital asset trading platform, announced that it allows users to buy or sell stablecoin USDT in Dubai over OTC.

Users can now purchase or sell USDT in cash directly by visiting the Coinsfera crypto OTC desk without the need for a bank account or credit card.

Coinsfera is an exchange for buying and selling cryptocurrency with cash in Istanbul of Turkey, Dubai of UAE, Kosovo of Prishtina, and so forth.

Due to the recent market volatility, crypto investors are largely looking to sell their holdings of BTC, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies and buy USDT to keep their assets in a stable currency and avoid market volatility.

Tether (USDT) is a cryptocurrency with a value meant to mirror the value of the U.S. dollar.

Users can contact Coinsfera via Whatsapp or phone, and a staff member will arrange a meeting. This service is available across the UAE.

This is a big deal because it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for those who want to capitalize on cryptocurrency profits.

According to the exchange, customers only need to bring their ID or passport to use Coinsfera’s services. Tourists only need to bring their passports to buy/sell USDT at the OTC counter.

Instead of buying Bitcoin or Ethereum first, they can sell USDT directly for cash. This will be especially helpful for those who want to use cryptocurrencies for local payments or remittances.

With Tether, they will be able to avoid the high fees associated with traditional banking methods.

Dubai is more than just a well-known tourist destination in the world but also aspires to be the global financial centre in the Middle East. Dubai comes off as one of the latter with the slew of licenses being granted to cryptocurrency exchanges. As reported by Blockchain.News, OKX, one of the leading crypto exchanges in the digital currency ecosystem, is one of the latest in the industry that has just been given the green light to operate in Dubai.

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China’s crypto holdouts: Bitcoin nodes and OTC desks struggle on

Despite Beijing’s ever-increasing crackdown on the crypto industry, there are still some signs of life in the People’s Republic regarding the Bitcoin network and OTC trading.

China intensified its clampdown on crypto last week in an effort to suppress any remaining activity related to digital assets within its borders. The regime specifically targeted crypto transactions, but as researched by Cointelegraph, this action is nothing new with at least 19 similar crackdowns over the past decade or so.

Despite the latest move, there are still 135 Bitcoin nodes in operation in China according to data from Bitrawr which measures nodes by geographical location. However, this is just 1.21% of the total 11,262 Bitcoin nodes spread across the planet. There may be more if they are operating behind virtual private networks (VPNs) and/or using onion routing with Tor which masks locations

Bitcoin nodes are the software that runs the protocol, containing the full ledger or a segment of it containing a history of the transaction data. Distributed and decentralized systems are specifically designed to be hard to shut down completely so the regime may struggle to extinguish these final few hangers-on or those operating via Tor.

While it’s difficult to put figures on the volume due to its opaque nature, over-the-counter (OTC) trading is also maintaining a foothold in China according to various reports as is the local currency pair.

Local media outlet Wu Blockchain reported that the RMB/USDT pair, which is still offered by major exchanges such as OKEx and Huobi, has been trading at a premium. He noted panic selling last week, which has since subsided.

OKEx is currently offering 6.35 yuan for 1 USDT where the actual exchange rate for a greenback is 6.47 according to

Related: Institutional investors bought the dip as China FUD broke

OTC trades are carried out peer-to-peer which circumvents the usage of a bank or the spot markets on centralized exchanges — though many exchanges do have related OTC desks. According to Coindance, volumes in China have been relatively stable since early 2020 with around 7 million Yuan (around $US1 million) being traded per week on P2P platform Localbitcoins.

Localbitcoins volume CNY –

Former CEO of China’s first crypto exchange BTCC, Bobby Lee, thinks that Beijing will target OTC desks in its next crackdown. Earlier this week, he said that OTC platforms that are operated by the big exchanges will be closed down or forced to exclude Chinese users. Speaking to Bloomberg on Sept. 29, Lee added:

“They really don’t want any loopholes where people can use a digital currency as a vehicle to move assets abroad.”

He followed that up with a prediction that BTC markets are due another FOMO rally that could send prices to $200,000.


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China’s attempt to kill Bitcoin failed — Here are 3 reasons why

Bitcoin (BTC) might have suffered its largest coordinated attack over the last couple of months, but in this instance, the investor community did not capitulate. China outright banning mining in most regions after giving BTC miners a two-week notice and this caused the single largest mining difficulty adjustment after the network hash rate dropped 50%.

The market sentiment surrounding Bitcoin was already damaged after Elon Musk announced that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin payments due to the environmental impact of the mining process. It remains unknown whether China’s decision was influenced or related to Musk’s remarks, but undoubtedly those events held a negative effect.

A couple of weeks later, on June 16, China blocked cryptocurrency exchanges from web search results. Meanwhile, derivatives exchange Huobi started to restrict leverage trading and blocked new users from China.

Finally, on June 21, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) instructed banks to shut down the bank accounts of over-the-counter desks and even their social networks accounts were banned. OTC desk essentially act as a fiat gateway in the region so without them it would be difficult to exchange from Bitcoin to stablecoins.

As these events unfolded, some analysts were reluctant to describe the tactics as nothing other than meaningless FUD, but in hindsight, it appears that China launched a very well-planned and executed attack on the Bitcoin network and mining industry.

The short-term impact could be considered a moderate success due to the collapse in Bitcoin price and the rising concerns that a 51% hashrate attack could occur.

Despite the maneuvers, China’s attack ultimately failed and here are the main reasons why. 

The hashrate recovered to 100 million TH/s

After peaking at 186 million TH/s on May 12, the Bitcoin network hash rate, an estimate of the total mining power, started to plunge. The first couple of weeks were due to restrictions to coal-powered areas, estimated at 25% of the mining capacity.

However, as the ban extended to other regions, the indicator bottomed at 85 million TH/s, its lowest level in two years.

Bitcoin estimated hashrate. Source:

As the data above indicates, the Bitcoin network’s processing power recovered to 100 million TH/s in less than three weeks. Some miners had successfully moved their equipment to Kazakhstan, while others shifted to Canada and the U.S.

Peer-to-peer (p2p) markets carried on

Even though the companies involved in crypto transactions have been banned from the country, individuals continued to act as intermediaries—some of these recorded over 10,000 successful peer-to-peer transactions according to data from the exchange’s own ranking system.

Huobi Global peer-to-peer market advertisement. Source: Huobi

Both Huobi and Binance offer a similar marketplace where users can trade multiple cryptocurrencies including USD Tether (USDT). After converting their fiat to stablecoin, transacting on a regular or derivatives exchange becomes possible.

Asia-based exchanges still dominate spot volume

A complete crackdown on trading from Chinese entities would likely be reflected in the exchanges previously based on the region, like Binance, OKEx, and Huobi. However, looking at the recent volume data, there hadn’t been a meaningful impact.

Weekly spot volume, USD. Source:

Take notice of how the three ‘Asia-based’ exchanges remain dominant, while Coinbase, Kraken, and Bitfinex are nowhere near their trading activities.

China’s ban on Bitcoin mining and transactions may have led to some temporary hiccups and a negative impact on BTC price, but the network and price have recovered in a way that is better than many expected.

Currently, there is no way to measure the OTC transactions where larger blocks are traded but it is just a matter of time until these intermediaries find new gateways and payment routes.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.