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Hong Kong urges crypto investors to verify the status of the platform before the impending license expiration

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong has issued a stern warning to crypto investors to check the regulatory status of their trading platforms, as the deadline for license applications approaches. 

The SFC has mandated all cryptocurrency trading platforms to submit their license application by 29th February 2024, failing which they will be closed by 31st May 2024.

The crypto regulatory landscape in Hong Kong 

Hong Kong has launched its licensing regime for virtual asset trading platforms in June 2023, with the aim of bringing greater transparency and accountability to the rapidly growing digital asset market. Under this framework, licensed exchanges are authorized to offer retail trading services, provided they comply with regulatory standards.

Currently, only two platforms, HashKey and OSL, have obtained the license. The SFC is actively reviewing the applications of 14 other crypto companies, including major operators such as OKX and Bybit. Additionally, HKVAEX, a cryptocurrency platform presumably associated with Binance, has applied for a license on January 4th, according to the SFC’s list of applicants.

In a recent notice, the SFC emphasized the importance for investors to operate exclusively on authorized platforms. The deadline for license applications is approaching rapidly and the regulatory authority has urged investors to confirm the regulatory status of their chosen trading platforms by checking the “official list of authorized virtual asset trading platforms” or the “list of applicants for virtual asset trading platforms”.

Government regulatory efforts

Investors who trade on platforms not listed in these lists are invited to take action quickly. The SFC has suggested proactive measures, such as closing accounts on unlicensed platforms, to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. The goal is to protect investors from potential risks associated with unregulated trading activities.

This move by the SFC aligns with the broader regulatory efforts of the Hong Kong government to crack down on unregulated trading platforms. Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, recently announced the intention to publish a consultation on a proposed regulatory framework for over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency trading platforms. The government’s proactive stance reflects its commitment to addressing emerging risks in the cryptocurrency market and ensuring the stability and security of financial systems.


In conclusion, Hong Kong’s regulatory push in the cryptocurrency sector highlights the commitment to promote a secure and responsible market for digital assets. 

The tight deadlines set by the Securities and Futures Commission for license applications represent a crucial moment for both investors and trading platforms, highlighting the importance of aligning with established regulatory frameworks. 

With the maturation of the cryptocurrency sector, this proactive approach by Hong Kong financial authorities not only safeguards investors from potential risks associated with unregulated platforms, but also lays the foundation for sustainable growth and innovation.

The imminent regulatory framework for over-the-counter cryptocurrency trading platforms is another signal of a global effort to address emerging challenges. Hong Kong’s measured steps reflect a willingness to balance innovation with investor protection, creating the foundations for a resilient and thriving crypto ecosystem in the region.