Huobi Withdraws Crypto Exchange License Application in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has been consistently advising investors to exercise due diligence when dealing with cryptocurrency platforms, a message reiterated on its website. Recently, Huobi HK, a prominent crypto exchange, withdrew its license application just three days after submission on February 23, under its local entity HBHL Hong Kong Limited. This move follows similar actions by two other exchanges, Amber and BitHarbour, while Meex had its application returned on February 7 for undisclosed reasons.

As of February 29, all crypto exchanges in Hong Kong are required to either obtain or apply for a Virtual Asset Trading Platform (VATP) license. The SFC underscores the significance of trading through licensed exchanges, urging investors to verify the regulatory status of their platforms. The commission emphasized the importance of checking the “List of licensed virtual asset trading platforms” or the “List of virtual asset trading platform applicants” for guidance.

In a bid to enhance compliance efforts, the SFC has implemented various measures. Notably, OSL, an approved exchange, reported on January 30 that the SFC had reduced the mandated insurance coverage on digital assets to 50%. Additionally, the SFC has expanded its regulatory scope to encompass over-the-counter (OTC) crypto products, aiming to subject them to similar regulations as other crypto exchanges or products. This move comes amid concerns over anti-money laundering measures, as OTC trading currently lacks the stringent requirements imposed on regular crypto exchanges.