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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

SEBA Bank secures in-principle nod for crypto services in Hong Kong

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The Hong Kong arm of crypto-friendly Swiss bank SEBA Bank has received in-principle approval from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) allowing it to deal in virtual assets.

On Aug. 30, SEBA Hong Kong said its in-principle approved license would allow it to operate with crypto products such as over-the-counter derivatives, advise on virtual assets and conduct asset management for discretionary accounts in virtual assets.

Speaking to Cointelegraph the Asia-Pacific CEO of SEBA Hong Kong Amy Yu said Hong Kong provides enormous potential due to the SFC’s virtual asset regulatory framework and the city’s legal system.

Yu added while China has a crypto trading ban, Hong Kong is “well-positioned to tap into the Chinese market when it opens up” as its in a strategic location in being close to the mainland, while also being a Special Administrative Region of China.

“Hong Kong may once again serve as a gateway to China, delivering the significant potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.”

On its decision to pursue a local license, Yu said SEBA received inquiries from crypto companies who had “difficulty in accessing and managing their digital assets holdings via traditional providers” along with interest from private wealth and family offices.

In Switzerland, SEBA Bank offers both traditional banking and crypto services such as trading, staking, lending and custody.

SEBA’s approval in principle comes amid a flurry of regulated crypto activity in Hong Kong.

Crypto exchange HashKey — the first exchange in Hong Kong to get regulatory clearance — was reported to begin offering retail trading in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) on Aug. 28.

Its peer trading platform, OSL, also received the SFC’s approval to offer retail trading. HashKey and OSL are currently the only two fully licensed exchanges in Hong Kong.

That may soon change, as on Aug. 11, the Hong Kong Virtual Asset Exchange (HKVAX) was given in-principle approval from the SFC to operate a crypto trading platform.

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