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Hong Kong Ends License Application Drive for Crypto Exchanges

Hong Kong ends license application drive for crypto exchanges, requiring non-compliant platforms to close by May 31.

Hong Kong has ceased accepting license applications from crypto exchanges as of February 29, requiring all non-compliant trading platforms to close their businesses locally by May 31, 2024.

Compliance Deadline

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong stated that crypto exchanges failing to file for license applications by February 29 must cease operations by the end of May 31, 2024. The SFC advised investors to prepare early and migrate to licensed platforms.

Licensing Status

Hong Kong's SFC has officially licensed two crypto trading operators: OSL Digital Securities on December 15, 2020, and HashKey Exchange on November 9, 2022. 22 crypto trading platforms have applied for licenses, including four under the SFC's previous opt-in regime.

Enforcement Measures

During the winding-up period, Hong Kong will restrict the operational capacity of non-compliant exchanges and enforce the closure of all marketing activities. The SFC will publish a list of licensed crypto exchanges effective from June 1, 2024, though license procurement for all listed exchanges is not guaranteed.

Future Trading Approval

Licensed exchanges can onboard retail investors to trade Bitcoin and Ether. The SFC is reviewing various altcoins and stablecoins for trading approval.

BitForex Communication Issues

Hong Kong-based crypto exchange BitForex has faced communication problems, with users reporting issues accessing their accounts and the dashboard not displaying assets. The exchange's X account has not been updated since May 2023, and users have been blocked from accessing the website.