OKX Sets Up Hong Kong Entity, Applies for Virtual Asset License
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OKX Sets Up Hong Kong Entity, Applies for Virtual Asset License

OKX said on Tuesday it would apply for VASP license to offer services in Hong Kong under the new regulatory regime.
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Seychelles-based crypto exchange OKX set up a Hong Kong entity and said it would apply for the virtual asset service provider (VASP) license in the city, according to its press release released today. OKX is one of the first major participants in the crypto space that plans to apply for a license in Hong Kong under new regulations that will come into effect later this year.

OKX and Huobi Global Among the First to Apply for VASP

OKX, a crypto exchange initially headquartered in China, announced on Tuesday that it had established a Hong Kong entity and said it plans to apply for the VASP license in the special administrative region. OKX said it would apply for VASP under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Regulations, which are expected to come into force on June 1, 2023.

“At OKX, we see immense potential in Hong Kong, and are committed to investing in talents and working with regulators over the next five years to continue building the local ecosystem. Through the new VASP regime, the Hong Kong government has created a robust regulatory framework and the right conditions for Hong Kong to become a world-leading virtual asset hub.”

– OKX Managing Director of Global Institutional Lennix Lai said in the release.

OKX, and its rival exchange Huobi Global, were the first major industry players that announced plans earlier this year to apply for a license in Hong Kong under the new regulatory regime. Last month, OKX Lai said the company has a team of more than 20 people working on compliance in Hong Kong. So far, only OSL and Hashkey have obtained the VASP license in the city.

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Hong Kong’s New Regulatory Regime Attracting Attention

Once Hong Kong’s new regulations come into effect, it will mark the first time crypto trading providers will be required to obtain a license to operate in the city. The new laws were announced last year after the government said it wanted to turn Hong Kong into a crypto and financial hub.

Moves by OKX and Huobi suggest that Hong Kong’s regulatory revamp is attracting interest from renowned crypto and traditional finance players. This is likely because the overhaul aims to clarify the governance of digital assets, which have been under increased scrutiny from global regulators following the major market downturn in 2022 and several high-profile collapses.

Last month, Hong Kong financial chief Paul Chan said the city plans to allocate $6.4 million to facilitate the development of the Web3 ecosystem and unlock its potential. Further, he also announced the city would set up a virtual asset (VA) task force to offer guidance on responsible growth of the VA sector.

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Would Hong Kong’s new regulations facilitate its plans to become a virtual asset hub? Let us know in the comments below.