Bybit Seeks Approval for Virtual Asset Trading License in Hong Kong

Bybit cryptocurrency exchange has officially applied for a Virtual Asset Trading Operator (VATP) license from the Hong Kong Securities and Exchange Commission (SFC). The application, submitted through the business entity Spark Fintech Limited, is currently under review by the financial regulator.

Hong Kong has become a focal point for crypto companies, especially in light of its favorable regulatory stance compared to mainland China’s strict crackdown on digital assets. Notably, only two crypto exchanges in Hong Kong currently hold licenses issued by the SFC. OSL exchange secured its license on December 15, 2020, while HashKey Exchange followed suit on November 9, 2022.

The VATP license, if granted to Bybit, would empower the exchange to cater to retail customers. In contrast, the Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license is limited to serving professional investors. To attain professional investor status in Hong Kong, individuals must possess portfolios valued at a minimum of eight million Hong Kong dollars ($1.03 million).

Hong Kong’s Crypto-Friendly Regulations

Hong Kong’s pro-crypto regulatory approach has solidified its position as a key destination for crypto companies. In 2023, the SFC introduced crypto-oriented regulations, allowing both institutional and retail investors to actively participate in the crypto market.

Apart from exchange licenses, Hong Kong has positioned itself as an ETF-friendly environment. The SFC and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) expressed readiness to receive crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications as early as December 22. Notably, companies like Samsung Asset Management have already ventured into the Hong Kong market, launching the Samsung Bitcoin Futures ETF in January 2023, with potential plans for a spot ETF in the future.

As the SFC evaluates Bybit’s VATP license application, the crypto community watches closely, anticipating further expansion and acceptance within Hong Kong’s evolving crypto landscape.