In Hong Kong, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading access is being expanded to individual investors, with one exchange recently receiving regulatory approval to provide these services.

On August 3rd, the local digital asset company HashKey announced that it has secured all the required licensing to grow its business from catering to professional investors to now including retail investors.

The new regulatory achievement of HashKey has been made possible by upgrading two significant licenses granted by Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

The announcement notes that the first license, Type 1, permits HashKey to manage a virtual asset trading platform in accordance with Hong Kong's securities laws. 

The second license, Type 7, formally authorizes the firm to offer automated trading services to both institutional and retail users.

HashKey has also officially launched its Bitcoin and crypto over-the-counter (OTC) trading service, named HashKey Brokerage. The OTC platform is reported to align with local securities laws, subsequent to the SFC's implementation of a new Bitcoin and crypto regulatory framework.

Livio Weng, the chief operating officer of HashKey Group, conveyed confidence in the establishment of licensed trading platforms and the enhancement of regulatory clarity in Hong Kong.

He stated that "the industry as a whole will witness increased transparency, leading to a significant boost in investor confidence."

HashKey is not the only exchange now fully prepared to provide Bitcoin and crypto trading to Hong Kong retail users within the bounds of the law. OSL, another local Bitcoin and crypto company, announced on August 3rd that it had received an upgrade to its existing license from the SFC, allowing it to immediately offer Bitcoin trading to retail investors.

OSL co-founder Dave Chapman explained that "we have been fully regulated for virtual asset trading by the SFC since 2020."

The announcement follows a statement by an executive at the Hong Kong-based Hang Seng Bank, who contended that Bitcoin and crypto companies could only open bank accounts after securing an approval-in-principle license from the SFC. OSL and Hashkey are currently the only exchanges that have obtained this approval.

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