Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) told unregistered Virtual Asset Trading Platforms (VATPs) within its region to submit their licensing applications by Feb. 29 or close their businesses by May 31, according to a Feb. 5 notice.
The financial regulatory authority reaffirmed this deadline for cryptocurrency trading firms while advising investors to engage with licensed platforms in the region. As outlined by the SFC, crypto traders can verify the regulatory standing of these platforms by March 1 via its “List of licensed virtual asset trading platforms” or on the “List of virtual asset trading platform applicants.”
“Investors should check the regulatory status of a VATP from time to time and in any event on 1 March 2024. This is because VATPs operating in Hong Kong which have not submitted their licence applications to the SFC by 29 February 2024 MUST close down their businesses in Hong Kong by 31 May 2024 pursuant to the transitional arrangements under the SFC’s regulatory regime for VATPs,” SFC added.
Last year, Hong Kong initiated its cryptocurrency licensing framework for virtual asset trading platforms, paving the way for licensed exchanges to provide retail trading services. Notably, the city-state has licensed two platforms, including HashKey and OSL.
Meanwhile, the regulatory authority diligently scrutinized applications from 14 crypto entities, including OKX, Bybit, and HKVAEX. The SFC emphasized that the application process does not guarantee approval, cautioning investors to exercise prudence when engaging with these platforms.
These initiatives reflect Hong Kong’s commitment to fostering a pro-crypto environment. Recently, the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) unveiled a comprehensive regulatory framework for stablecoins. Additionally, authorities have expressed preparedness for spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) products, further solidifying Hong Kong’s stance in the evolving crypto landscape.
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