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Hong Kong Shuts Down Unlicensed Crypto Exchanges

Key Takeaways

  • Hong Kong mandates unlicensed crypto exchanges to cease operations on May 31;
  • Six major crypto exchanges left the Hong Kong market in May;
  • The SFC is to announce the approved crypto exchanges by June 1.
Hong Kong Shuts Down Unlicensed Crypto Exchanges

Hong Kong has issued a directive requiring all crypto exchanges without a license from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) to stop operations immediately.

Crypto exchanges were instructed to apply for a license by February 29 or shut down within three months.

Over 22 exchanges pursued licensing, but many retracted their applications just before the deadline.

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OKX, Huobi HK and four other crypto exchanges exited the Hong Kong market in May.

Among them was also the local crypto exchange Gate.HK, which ceased operations on May 23 and allowed existing customers to withdraw funds until August 28. Gate.HK cited the need for an extensive redesign of its trading platform to align with Hong Kong's regulatory requirements.

Gate.HK is actively working on the aforementioned overhaul. We plan to resume our business in Hong Kong in the future and contribute to the virtual asset ecosystem after obtaining the relevant licenses.

18 exchanges have submitted license applications, and the SFC is expected to announce approved ones by June 1. Investors can check the list of approved exchanges on SFC's official website. At the time of writing, only HashKey and OSL Exchange have received approval.

Overall, the SFC's regulations signal a future of tight oversight and compliance for crypto exchanges.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Professionals Association (HKSFPA) proposed in April that the city's crypto firms establish independent self-regulatory committees.

Aaron S., Editor-In-Chief
Having completed a Master’s degree in Economics, Politics, and Cultures of the East Asia region, Aaron has written scientific papers analyzing the differences between Western and Collective forms of capitalism in the post-World War II era.
With close to a decade of experience in the FinTech industry, Aaron understands all of the biggest issues and struggles that crypto enthusiasts face. He’s a passionate analyst who is concerned with data-driven and fact-based content, as well as that which speaks to both Web3 natives and industry newcomers.
Aaron is the go-to person for everything and anything related to digital currencies. With a huge passion for blockchain & Web3 education, Aaron strives to transform the space as we know it, and make it more approachable to complete beginners.
Aaron has been quoted by multiple established outlets, and is a published author himself. Even during his free time, he enjoys researching the market trends, and looking for the next supernova.

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