Hong Kong’s first licensed retail crypto exchange HashKey eyes 2024 bull run

Hong Kong retail cryptocurrency traders now have access to a locally based cryptocurrency exchange after HashKey took its retail trading services live 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. 

Figures from Hong Kong’s treasury, banking, accounting and Web3 ecosystem marked the launch of retail trading at the Maritime Museum Central. 

As Cointelegraph previously reported, the exchange now offers Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) trading pairs with the Hong Kong Dollar (BTC/USD and ETH/USD) and plans to list further tokens following its launch for retail users. HashKey also announced support for both United States and Hong Kong Dollars 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 SFC. The exchange aims to onboard 500,000 to 1 million users by the end of 2023 both locally and abroad.

Related: Hong Kong’s regulatory lead sets it up to be major crypto hub

HashKey’s representative added that the exchange anticipates the advent of a new cryptocurrency bull market between 2024 and 2025. With retail investors now afforded an avenue to obtain and trade cryptocurrencies, the company predicts Hong Kong’s crypto user base to increase to 10 to 15 million people over the next two years.

A statement from HashKey Group COO Livio Weng highlighted the importance of favorable regulatory oversight from the Hong Kong government and 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 being created 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, AML inspections and transaction monitoring across its operations.

HashKey is also licensed to hold custody of institutional and retail clients funds and notes that its policy enforces that 98% of cryptocurrencies under management are stored in cold wallets.

Hong Kong’s adoption of favorable but regulated cryptocurrency ecosystem is also attracting attention of global players like Binance, which also took part in public discussions and policy-making processes as previously covered by Cointelegraph.

OSL also announced uplift of its license from the SFC on Aug. 3, which enabled the brokerage, exchange, and custody provider to offer its services to retail customers in Hong Kong.  Cointelegraph has reached out to the firm to ascertain whether it has onboarded retail users since the announcement.

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