Hong Kong Virtual Asset Exchange (HKVAX) has been granted approval-in-principle from the Hong Kong Securities Futures Commission (SFC). This brings it one step closer to becoming the only platform to hold a Virtual Asset Trading Platform (VATP) license in Hong Kong.
Currently, only two companies have VATP-licensed: OSL and Hashkey. The SFC website shows that OSL was granted the first digital broker license in December 2020, and Hashkey was granted the license in November 2022.
Dr. Anthony Ng, CEO and co-founder of HKVAX, said, “We are delighted to have received approval-in-principle from the SFC and look forward to creating a safe and trusted environment for investors in one of the world’s largest and most dynamic financial centres.”
Once the regulator gives its final approval, HKVAX will be allowed to offer regulated activities. Its core products will include an OTC brokerage, an institutional-grade exchange platform, and a custody solution.
The approval process is part of the Hong Kong government’s effort to implement a new framework for the virtual asset industry, which includes the requirement for registered institutions and banks to extend service to SFC-licensed cryptocurrency platforms.
Sam Fok, HKVAX co-founder and COO, welcomed the new regulations, saying they will provide greater clarity to the industry. He added, “We welcome the changes proposed recently by the SFC that open up virtual assets to a wider community while providing investors of all types with the transparency, reliability and protection they expect. The changes also signal Hong Kong’s intent to become a global virtual asset hub.”
On August, the SFC published a warning for VATPs, reminding them not to mislead the public with any statements regarding their intention to apply for licences. The regulator also noted that such announcements may give the public a false sense of assurance that the platform conforms to SFC regulations.