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ByBit Eyes Hong Kong Market

The cryptocurrency exchange applied for a VATP license on Wednesday, seeking to operate its platform in Hong Kong.

Photo by Martin Cox / Unsplash

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ByBit, one of the largest crypto exchanges globally, has officially applied, via the entity Spark Fintech Limited, for a Virtual Asset Trading Platform (VATP) license in Hong Kong, eyeing the city's strategic location, according to an official Twitter/X post on Friday.

Hong Kong's licensing regime for crypto trading was rolled out in mid-2023. Currently, only OSL and HashKey hold VATP licenses in Hong Kong, with 14 more awaiting approval from the city's Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

“The city's strategic location and established financial infrastructure make it an ideal base for our operations and institutional clients, serving the Asia Pacific region,” founder and CEO Ben Zhou said in a statement.

Launched in 2018 by Zhou, the exchange currently serves over 22 million registered users in 160 countries globally, with a daily trading volume of $16.53 billion, according to its website.

According to data from CoinMarketCap, Bybit is the 7th largest spot exchange in the world, as well as the second largest derivatives exchange just behind Binance. The exchange claimed the no. 2 spot in futures and perpetuals trading several times year to date.

Among its recent moves to grow its institutional customer base is a partnership with institutional digital asset trading technology provider Talos to expand institutional access, as well as a partnership with Copper to offer custodial and settlement services for the exchange's institutional clients via Copper's ClearLoop service.

ETFs on the way?

Earlier this week, Hong Kong saw its first spot Bitcoin ETF application from the local arm of Chinese asset manager Harvest Fund Management. The firm hopes to launch Hong Kong's first ETF after the Lunar Year holiday, which is on 10 February.

OSL executive director and head of regulatory affairs Gary Tiu, said the city could see its first crypto ETFs within a few months. Some five to ten companies are studying such ETFs, with five progressing further than others. He added that there is pressure on the fund creators to maintain low competitive fees for these products.

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