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The Sydney-based crypto exchange is eyeing an expansion to Hong Kong in the “next few months” according to an interview with Lasanka Perera, the CEO of its Singapore operations.
Having had a solid foundation in Singapore for the past decade, Perera says that the firm is now looking for other hubs and is currently applying for a license to operate in Hong Kong. Perera cited Hong Kong’s advantage as an “active financial hub with deep capital markets.”
Towards the end of , the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) enacted an overhaul on its crypto regulations which introduced tighter restrictions and discouraged retail trading. Perera commented on how these restrictions caused a significant drop in Independent Reserve’s business, forcing the exchange to focus more on wealth management and Web3 payment segments. Perera also notes the conservatism
Around the same time, Hong Kong announced an easing up on its regulations, culminating in the announcement of an open regulatory framework which took effect . This new framework encouraged the adoption of digital assets while protecting its users from crises in the sector and is expected to foster the development and growth of the digital asset market.
Regulatory Shifts Impacting Market Strategies
The stricter regulatory environment imposed by the (MAS) in October last year has served as a critical inflection point for crypto firms like Independent Reserve. The introduction of tighter constraints on cryptocurrency trading, particularly discouraging retail trading, had a significant impact on Independent Reserve's business, causing a marked .
In contrast, Hong Kong has welcomed digital assets with more liberal regulatory practices, a move that Independent Reserve sees as an opportunity for expansion. Hong Kong's open regulatory framework, enacted this June, aims to foster digital asset adoption while providing user protection. This proactive, balanced approach to digital asset regulation makes Hong Kong an attractive market for crypto companies seeking a more welcoming regulatory climate.
Eyeing Expansion Beyond Asia
Independent Reserve's expansion strategy does not stop in Asia. The firm is also setting sights further afield, notably towards Dubai. Perera highlights that stepping into Dubai would potentially open up pathways to affluent European markets and capital. This strategic move underscores the firm's ambition to become a truly global player in the digital asset space.
However, the key to successful market entry hinges on Dubai adopting sensible and supportive regulations for crypto exchanges. Independent Reserve's leadership is watching regulatory developments closely as they form the backbone of their growth strategy. As the firm plans its next steps, observers are waiting to see how these international expansions will reshape the broader crypto landscape.
Hong Kong is well on its way to becoming a crypto hub in Southeast Asia and observers will take note of the way this relates to China’s crypto policies as a whole; Perera himself has noted how Hong Kong is “the doorway to [greater] China”. And of course, one will have to take note how this squares with the especially dire state of the cryptocurrency sector in the United States.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.