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Hong Kong Halts Crypto Exchange License Applications

Hong Kong, as of February 29, has ceased accepting license applications from cryptocurrency exchanges and will imminently mandate that all non-compliant trading platforms shutter their operations within the local jurisdiction.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong has underscored that cryptocurrency exchanges within the region failing to submit license applications must conclude their business affairs by May 31, 2024.

The SFC of Hong Kong has also advised investors utilising virtual asset trading platforms to “make preparations early” and transition to entities that have either acquired operating licenses or have initiated the application process.

Formal licensure has been granted to two cryptocurrency trading operators in Hong Kong: OSL Digital Securities on December 15, 2020, and HashKey Exchange on November 9, 2022.

The regulatory body received license applications from 22 cryptocurrency trading platforms, encompassing four exchanges that had applied under the SFC’s preceding opt-in regime for such platforms.

Moreover, four other exchanges—Huobi HK, Meex, BitHarbour, and Ammbr—initially pursued licensure but subsequently either withdrew their applications or had them returned.

The SFC will maintain a publicly accessible list of cryptocurrency platforms slated for mandated closure by law, aimed at informing citizens of associated risks.

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Throughout the winding-down phase, Hong Kong will curtail the operational capacities of these exchanges and enforce cessation of all marketing endeavours within the region.

The SFC of Hong Kong will also publish a roster of cryptocurrency exchanges deemed licensed as of June 1, 2024. Nonetheless, it will not assure licensure for all entities mentioned.

Upon securing licensure from the SFC of Hong Kong, cryptocurrency exchanges will be permitted to onboard retail investors for trading Bitcoin and Ether.

Various altcoins and stablecoins are presently under SFC review for trading approval.

Recent developments have seen Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange BitForex become unresponsive subsequent to suspending withdrawals for a minimum of three days.

The exchange’s X account has remained stagnant since May 2023.

Users on its official Telegram channel have reported a spectrum of issues, ranging from inability to access their accounts to asset dashboards failing to display.

Multiple users have encountered a pop-up screen indicating they are blocked from accessing the company’s website. An internal investigation by Cointelegraph replicated this issue.

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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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