Hong Kong’s Crypto-Friendly Licensing Regime Draws Interest from Independent Reserve

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Independent Reserve, an Australian cryptocurrency exchange, is exploring establishing a presence in Hong Kong. The city’s efforts to become a leading cryptocurrency hub in Asia are inspiring. Furthermore, the new licensing regime released by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in February is seen as a welcoming development by the industry.

The CEO of Independent Reserve, Adrian Przelozny, has stated that Hong Kong’s “friendly” licensing regime makes it an attractive destination to set up a new base. 

The proposed regulations, set to take effect in June, will require cryptocurrency companies in Hong Kong to comply with various measures related to the safe custody of assets. Those include Anti-Money Laundering, Know Your Customer, counter-financing of terrorism countermeasures, and conflict of interest disclosures and audits.

Przelozny and his team are visiting Hong Kong next week to meet with banks, regulators, lawyers, and compliance experts to determine if the location suits the company. 

Independent Reserve sees Hong Kong as a good opportunity to expand its business. However, the last checkbox to tick would be the cost of opening up shop and the expected return on investment.

If the move pushes through, Independent Reserve will join Huobi and OKX, two cryptocurrency exchanges that have set up operations in Hong Kong. 

More than 80 cryptocurrency firms across mainland China and elsewhere have also expressed interest in establishing a presence in Hong Kong.

Independent Reserve’s potential move comes when China is testing a more relaxed cryptocurrency regime in Hong Kong, as observed by Przelozny. 

If the experiment yields positive results, China will likely follow suit and loosen its existing restrictions. However, Przelozny remains cautious and sees it as a transitory experiment that could be reversed.

Independent Reserve is a licensed virtual-asset service provider in Singapore and has recently acquired Bitcoin.com.au for AUD 3 million. 

Independent Reserve’s interest in Hong Kong’s cryptocurrency market indicates the city’s potential as a future hub for cryptocurrency businesses in Asia. It is likely other service providers will follow this lead by example. 

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