Bybit, a significant player in the cryptocurrency exchange domain, is making notable progress towards obtaining regulatory approval in Hong Kong. The exchange recently submitted an application for a Virtual Asset Trading Operator (VATP) license to the Hong Kong Securities and Exchange Commission (SFC).
The SFC is currently in the process of assessing applications from 14 crypto firms, including Bybit and OKX, all aiming to secure the coveted VATP license. Notably, only two crypto exchanges in Hong Kong, OSL and HashKey Exchange, have successfully obtained licenses from the SFC thus far.
What distinguishes the VATP license is its authorization for Hong Kong-based crypto entities to cater to retail customers, unlike the Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license, which is limited to serving professional investors.
For Bybit, acquiring a VATP license in Hong Kong signifies a significant milestone. The exchange views Hong Kong’s strategic location and established financial infrastructure as ideal for its operations and institutional clients, particularly in serving the Asia Pacific region.
In 2023, Hong Kong underwent substantial regulatory reforms, presenting opportunities for both institutional and retail investors to actively engage in the cryptocurrency market. This regulatory evolution, coupled with a favorable stance, positions Hong Kong as an attractive hub for crypto companies, especially when compared to the more stringent approach observed in mainland China, where crypto trading and mining have been banned since 2021.