March 2, 2024

Interactive Brokers Hong Kong licensed in Hong Kong for retail virtual asset trading

Interactive Brokers Hong Kong was approved for a license in Hong Kong for virtual asset trading for retail clients, as announced by the regional managing director on LinkedIn.

The brokerage firm Interactive Brokers Hong Kong has been licensed in Hong Kong for virtual asset trading by retail clients, according to a post on LinkedIn by the Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Interactive Brokers, David Friedland.

The post said the trading of virtual assets is currently in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), with additional information on the licensing soon to be available in the official announcement.

Cointelegraph contacted Interactive Brokers for additional information and comments on the development, but has not yet received a reply.

This announcement comes in the heat of a crypto industry build-up in Hong Kong. The region has increasingly become a hotspot for crypto-related activities, with companies flocking to receive local licensing. 

Back in August of this year, Hashkey was the first crypto exchange in Hong Kong to receive a specific license to offer crypto assets to retail investors.

Related: Owner of Hong Kong crypto exchange OSL secures $90M investment

In November, the Swiss crypto bank SEBA received a license from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), allowing it to offer various crypto-related services to clients in the region.

However, the Hong Kong crypto scene was also hit with a scandal in September, which involved the unlicensed crypto exchange JPEX allegedly scamming investors out of nearly $165 million. 

A month after this, regulators in Hong Kong announced updates to its crypto policies “in light of the latest market developments and inquiries from the industry.” The updated policy states that certain digital currency offerings will only be available to professional investors.

Moreover, prior to handling transactions, the crypto intermediaries should “assess whether clients have knowledge of investing in virtual assets.”

In a recent survey by the Investor and Financial Education Council (IFEC) of Hong Kong, it emerged that only 47% of retail investors in Hong Kong are aware of local virtual asset regulations. 

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