Crypto exchange Huobi is planning a Hong Kong expansion as regulators consider allowing retail investors back in the game.
In an announcement on Monday, Huobi said it aims to be the first fully compliant crypto exchange in the region.
Exciting news! Huobi is stoked about Hong Kong's pro-crypto policies & we're working hard to secure our crypto license there. Our aim is to be one of the first fully compliant exchanges in HK & collaborate with our Asia-Pacific users to drive digital asset growth! #Huobi #Crypto pic.twitter.com/ktZw1WE2cs
— Huobi (@HuobiGlobal) February 20, 2023
Tron founder Justin Sun, who acquired a majority stake in Huobi last year, said the exchange had applied for a crypto trading license in Hong Kong, which will enable it to provide a wider range of trading and investment options.
Huobi’s plans come after a shift in the stance of Hong Kong’s regulators, who are weighing a proposal to allow retail investors to resume trading on virtual asset platforms. A consultation paper from the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong (SFC) recommends that crypto trading be reopened for investors, subject to certain criteria and risk assessments.
Under the proposed criteria, crypto trading platforms would be responsible for checking the background of the team behind a specific token, as well as security infrastructure like the integrity of a blockchain’s code and whether it is resistant to 51% attacks.
The tokens that would be considered admissible include large cap assets that are sufficiently liquid.
In an interview with Nikkei Asia, Sun said he plans to move Huobi’s headquarters to Hong Kong from Singapore and increase the exchange’s headcount to 200 from 50 by the end of the year. In January, Sun told CNBC that the company plans to lay off around 20% of staff, given the “current state of the bear market.”
Huobi is the 18th largest crypto exchange by trading volume, according to data from CoinMarketCap. At the time of writing, the exchange had a daily trading volume of $455 million.