Hong Kong, April 28, 2022 – HashKey Group (“HashKey” or the “Group”), a digital asset financial services group in Asia, today secured an approval-in-principle (“AIP”) from the Securities and Futures Commission (“SFC”) of Hong Kong for its application for Hash Blockchain Limited (“HBL”) to operate a virtual asset trading platform, under a licence for Type 1 (dealing in securities) and Type 7 (providing automated trading services (“ATS”)).
After all conditions are satisfied and final approval is received, HashKey will become one of the first Virtual Asset Trading Platform Operators (“VATPO”) in Hong Kong licensed to operate an institutional-grade virtual asset trading platform for professional investors, including licensed financial institutions. Virtual assets that will be offered for trading on the platform operated by HBL will include cryptocurrencies and virtual commodities such as Bitcoin and Ether, as well as stablecoins and security tokens. For HashKey, the licence signifies a greenlight to provide brokerage and automated trading services as well as take on different tokenisation projects for qualifying professional and institutional investors. HashKey will also continue to build out innovative technology based on the Group’s far-reaching ecosystem, offering end-to-end digital asset solutions that satisfy all investor and client needs, from OTC trading, brokerage services, custody through to asset management.
HashKey’s AIP issuance follows a recent joint circular announcement by the SFC and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) on January 28 2022 in response to increasing enquiries from intermediaries about distributing virtual asset-related products and providing virtual asset dealing services. The circular states that registered institutions and licensed corporations are required to partner only with SFC-licensed virtual asset trading platforms in order to provide virtual asset dealing services to their clients.
Colin Zhong, CEO of Hash Blockchain Limited, said, “We are in the right place at the right time. Institutions and professional investors are increasingly seeking regulated partners to gain exposure to digital assets. Attaining AIP is a testament to our team’s hard work over the years building and propelling our business, technology and ecosystem to a position of strength. We will continue to communicate and work closely with the SFC to clear out licensing conditions and secure the full provider licence in Hong Kong.”
Michel Lee, Executive President of HashKey Group said, “From day one HashKey Group is committed to upholding and adhering to the highest compliance and regulatory standards, while empowering institutional investors in Asia to capture opportunities in this new asset class.”
“For digital assets to gain widespread adoption across industries, regulation is paramount. We are seeing governments around the world step up their efforts setting up regulatory framework for digital asset activities, and the licensing regime for VATPOs by the SFC has made Hong Kong among the forerunners. Licensing provides the confidence to institutional investors and builds upon Hong Kong’s thriving digital asset ecosystem.”
The regulatory framework for VATPOs was first announced by the SFC in November 2018 with the mission of building a secure and stringent environment for professional and institutional investors seeking to gain exposure in digital assets. Under the framework, the SFC has adopted a set of robust regulatory standards for virtual asset trading platforms that are comparable to those applied to licensed securities brokers and traditional automated trading venues. Licences are only granted to VATPOs that have met the expected standards.
HashKey Group is looking to become the first digital asset group in Asia with registered virtual asset trading licences to operate in three different jurisdictions. HashKey’s Japan operations, Tokyo Hash, established in 2018, has become a registered crypto asset exchange service provider in Japan, having been granted an operating licence under the country’s Payment Services Act in June 2021. The Group has also submitted a major payment institution licence application to operate as a regulated provider of Digital Payment Tokens (DPT) services in Singapore in 2021.
About HashKey Group
HashKey Group is an end-to-end digital asset financial services group in Asia. The Group provides a complete ecosystem across the entire digital asset landscape, ranging from venture investment, to custody, to technologies and trading. HashKey’s senior team has deep investment, governance, and technology expertise gained at tier-one banks, regulators, and fintech ventures. By bringing together the most advanced blockchain research, developers and technologies, HashKey identifies potential opportunities and deliver end-to-end solutions that operate within regulatory frameworks with the highest compliance standards. The Group has operations in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, and extensive partnerships with FinTech and blockchain solutions providers, academic institutions, and associations. Official Website: https://www.hashkey.com/
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