Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange HKVAEX has not applied for a virtual asset trading platform license with Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), a spokesperson for HKVAEX has said. The spokesperson clarified that the crypto exchange is still preparing for the application and denied any connection with another crypto platform, VAEXC, that has already applied for the license.
The HKVAEX representative made these statements in response to multiple reports that erroneously suggested that HKVAEX has applied for an SFC license, which is required for crypto platforms to operate legally in Hong Kong. According to the SFC website, the reports confused HKVAEX with VAEXC, a different crypto platform that submitted its application to the SFC on Oct. 25.
“HKVAEX told Cointelegraph on Nov. 27 that they were still preparing for the application. ”
We have not applied yet andare not related to VAEXC in any way. VAEXC is another applicant, and they have nothing to do with us,” the spokesperson added, emphasizing that the two platforms are separate entities.
The spokesperson also dismissed the recent news that claimed that HKVAEX is backed by Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume. The news was first reported by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Nov. 13, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. The report alleged that Binance set up HKVAEX as a proxy to pursue a crypto license in Hong Kong and that HKVAEX’s website uses Binance servers to fetch content.
However, the HKVAEX representative denied any links with Binance and said the exchange operates independently. We have no connection to Binance—a Hong Kong-based corporation with its team and infrastructure. We do not use Binance servers or services, the spokesperson added. HKVAEX and Binance did not respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment on perceived links.
According to data from SFC, OSL Digital Securities, and HashKey exchanges are the only two crypto trading platforms that have been licensed as virtual asset trading platform operators as of Nov. 27. The SFC introduced a new regulatory framework for crypto platforms in November 2020, requiring them to obtain a license and comply with anti-money laundering and investor protection rules.
In August 2023, OSL and HashKey became the first crypto exchanges to start offering crypto trading services to retail customers in Hong Kong under the new crypto regulations. The two platforms are also authorized to provide services to professional investors with at least HK$8 million ($1 million) in assets.
According to its website, The SFC has received 18 applications from crypto platforms as of Nov. 27. However, the regulator has not disclosed the names of the applicants, except for OSL and HashKey, which have already obtained the license. The SFC has also warned the public that any crypto platform that operates in Hong Kong without a request is doing so illegally and may face prosecution.