- Hashkey, one of Hong Kong’s first licensed crypto exchanges, opens its doors to retail investors for trading Bitcoin and Ether with US and soon Hong Kong dollars.
- With ambitious global growth plans, Hashkey aims to onboard up to 1 million retail users by the end of this year, and more than 10 million by 2025.
A Regulatory Framework for Retail Crypto Trading
In a significant stride towards legitimizing the burgeoning virtual asset industry, Hashkey Exchange, a pioneer among Hong Kong’s licensed cryptocurrency exchanges, has officially begun facilitating retail investors to trade Bitcoin and Ether against fiat currencies. This watershed moment comes in the wake of Hong Kong’s push to become a global crypto nexus, replete with stringent regulatory frameworks devised by the Securities Futures Commission (SFC).
The rollout occurs a month after Hashkey and OSL, another local crypto exchange, were granted extended licenses, allowing retail trading alongside services for professional investors. Hashkey COO Livio Weng declared that retail transactions using Hong Kong dollars would be initiated “within a week or two.”
This milestone falls under a broader strategic canvas laid out by the Hong Kong government last year to rejuvenate its virtual asset industry. Regulatory perimeters have been meticulously defined, encompassing aspects like user onboarding, asset custody, cybersecurity, and corporate governance. It is imperative to note that retail investors will only have access to the market’s bellwether tokens; derivatives and stablecoins remain off-limits.
The commercial intent behind this is far from trivial. Hashkey harbors a colossal ambition to register between 500,000 to 1 million retail users globally by the close of 2023, scaling this to over 10 million by 2025. Though Weng refrained from quantifying the anticipated number of Hong Kong-based retail investors, he cited a “conservative” outlook given the prevailing bearish crypto market conditions.
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Strategic Banking Partnerships for User Transactions
Facilitating smooth financial transactions, Hashkey has entered into partnerships with two banking institutions. The first is ZA Bank, the largest virtual bank in Hong Kong, and the second is an undisclosed note-issuing bank within the city. Earlier this month, Hashkey also announced a collaboration with Standard Chartered Bank to streamline fiat currency deposits and withdrawals for its users.
As Hong Kong aggressively courts crypto adoption, cautionary stances are also being struck by its regulatory bodies. The SFC has issued stark warnings about unlicensed trading platforms that may falsely claim to have sought compliance, potentially putting investors at the risk of losing their entire investment. With these risk caveats, the stage is set for a carefully regulated, yet promising, expansion of the retail cryptocurrency market in Hong Kong.
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