Hong Kong retail cryptocurrency traders now have access to a locally based cryptocurrency exchange, with HashKey Exchange launching retail trading services to users in China’s special administrative region on Aug. 28.
The company was previously permitted to serve professional and institutional investors before being granted Type 1 and Type 7 licenses by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) on Aug. 3. This paved the way to becoming the first licensed retail exchange in Hong Kong.
As Cointelegraph previously reported, the exchange now offers Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) trading pairs with the Hong Kong dollar, and it plans to list further tokens following its launch for retail users. HashKey also announced support for both United States dollar and Hong Kong dollar deposits and withdrawals.
A spokesperson from the company told Cointelegraph that HashKey holds an optimistic outlook for the development of Web3 in the region, which has been driven by support from the government and the SFC. The exchange aims to onboard 500,000 to one million users by the end of 2023 — both locally and abroad.
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HashKey’s representative added that the exchange anticipates the advent of a new cryptocurrency bull market between 2024 and 2025. With retail investors now allowed to obtain and trade cryptocurrencies, the company predicts Hong Kong’s crypto user base will increase to 10–15 million over the next two years.
A statement from HashKey’s chief operating officer, Livio Weng, highlighted the importance of favorable regulatory oversight from the Hong Kong government and the SFC as a key driver of growth for the Web3 ecosystem:
“The emergence of regulatory compliance in Hong Kong will attract Web3 talents and capital from around the world, thereby accelerating technological and business innovation.”
Weng added that the environment emerging in Hong Kong could spark a “virtuous cycle of development with the industry,” with favorable regulatory parameters positioning the region as a potential alternative for Web3 firms to relocate to.
HashKey’s exchange operates on the Hex Engine, which it touts as a high-performance trading system capable of processing 5,000 transactions per second.
The exchange has also adopted a number of regulatory requirements in line with Hong Kong’s guidelines, including detailed user screening, Anti-Money Laundering inspections and transaction monitoring across its operations.
HashKey is also licensed to hold custody of institutional and retail client funds, and its policy stipulates that 98% of cryptocurrencies under management are stored in cold wallets.
Hong Kong’s adoption of a favorable but regulated cryptocurrency ecosystem is also attracting the attention of global players like Binance, which also took part in public discussions and policy-making processes, as previously reported by Cointelegraph.
Digital asset platform OSL also announced its SFC license uplift on Aug. 3, which enabled the brokerage, exchange, and custody provider to offer its services to retail customers in Hong Kong. OSL executive director Dave Chapman told Cointelegraph that its Hong Kong offering has been available for retail investors since the firm received the retail license uplift.
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