Hong Kong to Release Cryptocurrency Exchange Licensing Guidelines

The Hong Kong Securities Futures Commission (SFC) is set to release guidelines for cryptocurrency exchange licensing in May, as it moves to support trading services to retail investors from June 1. According to Bloomberg, the plans were confirmed by the SFC’s CEO, Julia Leung, who revealed that over 150 interested parties had provided feedback during the consultation process on the licensing regime.

The upcoming guidelines will likely include regulatory requirements for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Client (KYC) measures, among other considerations. A February 20 report by the SFC also highlighted these factors as important for regulating virtual assets.

While most prospective Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) licensees are still awaiting confirmation, some trading platforms have already received licenses from the SFC. Among them are OSL and Hashkey Group, according to Reuters.

However, not all trading platforms have chosen to stay in Hong Kong amid its ambitions to become a major crypto hub. Bitget, which boasts $1.4 trillion in assets in reserve, announced on April 24 that it would cease offering services to its Hong Kong customers when the VASP regime takes effect on June 1.

Despite this setback, the release of the licensing guidelines is expected to bring further clarity and regulation to the Hong Kong crypto market, while also providing a framework for legitimate trading platforms to operate under. This could help to boost investor confidence in the sector and support the city’s wider efforts to establish itself as a leading hub for digital assets and blockchain technology.

Hong Kong has already made significant strides in this area, with its Securities and Futures Commission becoming one of the first regulators to issue guidance on digital asset fund managers in November 2018. The city has also played host to a number of high-profile crypto events in recent years, including the Token2049 conference, which attracts blockchain industry leaders from around the world.

Despite this progress, however, Hong Kong still faces stiff competition from other global crypto hubs, such as Singapore and Switzerland. By introducing clear licensing guidelines and regulatory requirements for crypto trading platforms, the SFC may be able to help Hong Kong strengthen its position in this increasingly competitive field.


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Hong Kong is a Step Closer to Legalizing Retail Crypto Trading – Report

Hong Kong is truly making moves that can help define it as a thriving hub for all crypto-related activities within the region.


According to a report from Bloomberg citing unnamed sources, the City’s top financial regulator, the Securities and Financial Commission (SFC) is set to permit to relisting of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in exchanges that permit retail traders.


The news that the Hong Kong SFC is considering a divergent crypto regulatory framework was first unveiled by Elizabeth Wong, Head of Fintech at the SFC as reported by Blockchain.News earlier this week. According to Wong, new allowances will be made for retail crypto traders, marking a move away from the earlier stance instituted in 2018 that sees only institutional traders with $1 million in capital trade the nascent asset class.


The timeline for announcing the new regulatory frameworks is yet unknown, however, speculations abound that the SFC will make its plans known at a fintech conference that is billed to start on Monday. Hong Kong has lost its luster as the preferred destination for most mainstream crypto companies and veterans.


With the new move, the city is looking to backtrack on its stance, thus creating an environment whereby it can compete with other countries including Singapore. With the speculation about the new crypto regime growing stronger, sentiments from stakeholders is still largely skeptical as many believe China’s influence might still be a drawback for the firm.


“The kind of conversations I’ve had was that people still fear there’ll be a very strict licensing regime,” said Leonhard Weese, co-founder of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong. “Even if they’re able to deal directly with retail users, they’re still not going to be as attractive or as competitive as overseas platforms.”


The crypto ecosystem is gaining massive traction with the UK Government making impressive strides to regulate the industry. The SFC as well as other promising nations are not slacking on this trend and are ready to do all they can to provide an enabling environment for all actors.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Singaporean DBS Bank to Expand Bitcoin Offerings to Retail Traders

DBS, the largest financial services operator in Singapore, is on track to expand its Bitcoin trading services to its retail customers, a wildly divergent position from its plans when it made its debut into the nascent digital currency world.

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In the last quarterly earnings call from the bank, Piyush Gupta, the CEO, noted that the bank is exploring avenues to expand its investor base beyond the professionals allowed to trade BTC on its platform.

“We’ve started doing the work on seeing how we get in a sensible way, take it out, and expand it beyond the current investor base. And that includes making sure we appropriate thinking about things like potential fraud and others,” Gupta said when asked whether DBS Bank has a roadmap for rolling out digital asset trading to retail investors.

Background works must be put in place to provide retail trading services, especially when it is in a highly volatile industry like cryptocurrencies. Gupta submitted that the bank plans to offer the retail services in as much of a decentralized manner as possible. 

In all, DBS bank plans to “make the access to the digital assets a lot more convenient” by enabling instant online deposits and transactions without relying much on banking intermediaries.

“What happens is that you’ve got 24/7, but the customers still need to call and speak to bankers. So the first order is to make it all online, make it self-service, make it instant, and make sure the internal processes are robust to be able to support that,” the CEO added in the earnings call.

It is not uncommon to find traditional banks wading into the digital currency ecosystem. Based on the volatility of crypto and the regulation of banks, the pioneering financial services provider are often known to restrict the trading of coins by retailers or customers that are not classified as high net worth individuals. With DBS planning these pushes, finding others to follow will not come as a surprise.

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DOGE Cost Averaging: Robinhood rolls out fee-free recurring crypto buy feature

Retail trading platform Robinhood has rolled out a new recurring crypto investment feature for users who want to dollar cost average (DCA) into a coin. Given DOGE accounts for 62% of Robinhood’s crypto services revenue, the move could result in a steady stream of small buyers for the memecoin.

The firm announced the launch of the new feature on Sept. 8, and users are able to set up up recurring investments in multiple crypto assets on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.

The minimum purchase amount is $1, with the firm is promoting the feature as a simple way to DCA into crypto markets without paying fees.

“If you place an order and spend $100 to buy Bitcoin, you’ll get $100 worth of Bitcoin. Period,” Robinhood stated.

Related: PayPal reportedly looks to take on Robinhood with stock trading

According to the platform’s website, recurring crypto orders will usually be processed between 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm ET (6:30 pm to 8:00 pm UTC). Robinhood also states that users may receive less crypto than their set purchase amount during times of market volatility, however the difference will be refunded in fiat after the trade is completed.

Thhe service is currently unavailable to New York-based customers.

Crypto-based retail trading has surged in popularity on the platform in 2021. According to Robinhood’s Q2 report, crypto trading services generated $233 million in the quarter and represented 41% of its total $565 million revenue. In comparison, the firm generated a total of $5 million in revenue from crypto trading for the entirety of 2020.