HTX’s License Withdrawal Signals Shift in Cryptocurrency Exchange Landscape

HTX, formerly known as Huobi Global, has made a surprising move by withdrawing its application for a license to operate in Hong Kong, signaling a significant shift from its previously publicized efforts to attract customers in the city after exiting the mainland market.

According to the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), HBGL Hong Kong Limited, the Hong Kong arm of HTX, pulled its application for a license for the virtual asset trading platform Huobi HK just three days after submission on February 23. HTX has not disclosed the reason for this withdrawal and has yet to respond to inquiries for comment.

This withdrawal adds to a small but notable trend, with three cryptocurrency exchange operators withdrawing their applications so far, and one having its application returned, as reported by the SFC.

HTX, originating from Beijing and ranked as the fifth-largest exchange globally by 24-hour trading volume according to CoinGecko, had been among the major players to seek a license in Hong Kong.

The decision to pursue a license in Hong Kong was initially announced by HTX in February last year through a statement by advisor Justin Sun on Twitter. Sun, a prominent figure in the crypto world, had outlined plans for a new exchange, Houbi Hong Kong, emphasizing compliance with the city’s regulations.

This withdrawal came just before the deadline for cryptocurrency exchanges to apply for legal operation in Hong Kong. Under the city’s new regulatory framework for virtual assets, companies must apply for a license by February 29 or cease operations by June 1 of this year if targeting Hong Kong residents.

Although only a handful of international cryptocurrency firms have submitted applications, Hong Kong remains attractive to entities with strong connections to mainland China, many of which relocated their headquarters abroad during Beijing’s crackdown on the industry. Among these are industry giants like OKX and HKVAEX, both with ties to China-founded Binance, which applied for licenses in November and last month, respectively.

While Binance’s headquarters status remains unclear, its CEO Richard Teng’s location is listed as Dubai on his account., originally from Hong Kong but now based in Singapore, also submitted a license application this month. As of Monday, a total of 18 companies have applied for licenses, according to the SFC.


Disclaimer: Not Investment Advice

it’s crucial to understand that the information provided here is not to be construed as investment advice. The crypto market is dynamic and highly speculative, and decisions should be made based on thorough personal research and consideration of individual risk tolerance. Always consult with financial professionals and conduct your own due diligence before making any investment decisions. The intention of this exploration is to present insights and trends, not to provide specific investment recommendations.

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