- Bybit applies for a VATP license in Hong Kong through Spark Fintech Limited.
- Hong Kong’s favourable regulatory environment contrasts with China’s crypto crackdown.
- Harvest Fund Management’s spot bitcoin ETF application signals Hong Kong’s growing crypto influence.
Bybit, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange, has officially applied for a license to operate as a “virtual asset trading platform” in Hong Kong. The application was submitted through Spark Fintech Limited on Wednesday, as confirmed by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission’s records.
The move comes amid a regulatory landscape that distinguishes Hong Kong from its neighbouring Chinese mainland. Bybit’s strategic choice aligns with Hong Kong’s welcoming approach to crypto firms, as seen with its crypto licensing regime initiated in June 2023.
Hong Kong emerging as a crypto hub in Asia
Unlike the broader crackdown on crypto activities in mainland China, Hong Kong has emerged as a favourable destination for crypto businesses. Bybit acknowledges the city’s strategic advantages, citing its established financial infrastructure and prime location.
Obtaining a Virtual Asset Trading Platform (VATP) license in Hong Kong would mark a pivotal step for Bybit, positioning it to serve institutional clients across the Asia Pacific region.
Hong Kong instituted its crypto licensing regime in June 2023, allowing licensed exchanges to offer retail trading services. Bybit’s application places it among the 14 crypto firms currently under official review by the financial regulator. Notably, OKX, another prominent crypto exchange, filed its application on November 16.
In addition to virtual asset trading licenses, Hong Kong regulators are paving the way for spot crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The Securities and Futures Commission, along with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, has reviewed existing policies, signalling a potential expansion of the city’s crypto financial products.
The Hong Kong arm of Harvest Fund Management, a major Chinese asset manager, has already applied to a spot Bitcoin ETF in Hong Kong.
Bybit’s bold move to secure a VATP license underscores the growing importance of Hong Kong in the crypto space, as the city continues to embrace and regulate digital asset trading. With regulatory developments ongoing, the Asia Pacific region is witnessing a dynamic shift in its crypto landscape, with Hong Kong at the forefront of this evolution.