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Bybit's Strategic Move: Applies For Hong Kong VATP License

Bybit's Strategic Move: Applies For Hong Kong VATP License

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The crypto derivatives exchange is eyeing the Hong Kong market and has submitted a license application to operate the Bybit platform in the city. 

Bybit’s Hong Kong Expansion Plans

In a recent public statement, cryptocurrency exchange Bybit declared its application for a license to operate as a virtual asset trading platform (VATP) in Hong Kong. Bybit, looking to capitalize on the city's strategic location and well-established financial infrastructure, views this move as pivotal for its operations in the Asia Pacific region.

The statement claimed,

"Obtaining a VATP license in Hong Kong is a significant step for Bybit. The city's strategic location and established financial infrastructure make it an ideal base for our operations and institutional clients, serving the Asia Pacific region."

Bybit's application, visible on the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission’s (SFC) website, reveals that the submission was made through Spark Fintech Limited on a Wednesday.

Capitalizing on Crypto-Friendly Policies

Like other crypto exchanges, Bybit's interest in Hong Kong stems from the region's welcoming stance towards cryptocurrencies. In stark contrast to mainland China's stringent crackdown on crypto trading and mining, Hong Kong opened its doors to crypto firms last year. The city reversed its stance on retail cryptocurrency trading, allowing licensed exchanges to offer retail trading services.

Since the initiation of the crypto licensing regime in June 2023, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission has been reviewing applications from 14 crypto firms. Notably, OSL and HashKey are the only two exchanges that have received approvals to provide crypto trading services to retail investors. Hong Kong remains cautious in its license approvals, emphasizing a meticulous evaluation process.

Spot Crypto ETFs on the Horizon

Hong Kong is gearing up to embrace spot crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs). In December, the SFC and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority disclosed their updated policy, paving the way for potential spot crypto ETFs. The regulators, in two circulars, outlined the requirements for such ETFs.

In January, Livio Weng, CEO of HashKey Exchange, noted that around ten fund companies are exploring the launch of potential spot crypto ETFs in the city.

While some companies have already introduced futures-based crypto ETFs in Hong Kong, Samsung Asset Management launched the Samsung Bitcoin Futures ETF in January 2023 and has expressed interest in exploring a spot ETF.

Bybit's application for a crypto license in Hong Kong aligns with the city's progressive stance on cryptocurrency trading. Hong Kong is poised to become a potential hub for digital assets, though approvals remain selective and meticulous. The upcoming integration of spot crypto ETFs further underscores the region's commitment to fostering a robust and diverse crypto market.

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. 

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