SEBA Bank Receives Preliminary Approval for Cryptocurrency Services in Hong Kong

SEBA Bank’s Hong Kong division has achieved a significant milestone by securing preliminary approval from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) to venture into the realm of virtual assets.

In an announcement on August 30, SEBA Hong Kong revealed that the in-principle license it received would pave the way for the bank to engage in various crypto-related endeavors. These include dealing in over-the-counter derivatives for cryptocurrencies, offering consultation services pertaining to virtual assets, and managing assets through discretionary accounts focused on virtual assets.

Amy Yu, the CEO of SEBA Hong Kong’s Asia-Pacific operations, spoke about the potential this approval unlocks. She emphasized that Hong Kong possesses remarkable prospects, courtesy of the SFC’s regulatory framework for virtual assets, coupled with the city’s robust legal system.

Yu further highlighted the distinct positioning of Hong Kong in contrast to China’s crypto trading ban. While mainland China maintains restrictions, Hong Kong remains strategically poised to tap into the Chinese market whenever it opens up, thanks to its geographical proximity and its status as a Special Administrative Region of China.

According to Yu, Hong Kong could potentially reprise its historical role as a gateway to China, serving as a conduit for the transformative potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

The decision to pursue a local license was motivated by SEBA’s observations of the challenges faced by crypto companies in accessing and managing their digital asset holdings via conventional providers. Moreover, growing interest from private wealth entities and family offices in the realm of cryptocurrencies played a role in this strategic move.

In Switzerland, SEBA Bank has already established itself as a unique institution that offers a comprehensive range of financial services, encompassing both traditional banking and innovative crypto-centric offerings such as trading, staking, lending, and secure custody.

SEBA’s in-principle approval aligns with a broader trend of increased regulatory activity in the Hong Kong crypto landscape. Notably, HashKey, a prominent crypto exchange, secured regulatory clearance and embarked on retail trading of Bitcoin and Ether on August 28. Additionally, the SFC granted approval to OSL, a peer trading platform, to conduct retail trading.

As of now, HashKey and OSL stand as the sole fully licensed exchanges in Hong Kong. However, this status quo may soon shift, as the Hong Kong Virtual Asset Exchange (HKVAX) received in-principle approval from the SFC on August 11, greenlighting the operation of a crypto trading platform. This wave of regulatory approvals signifies a growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies within the traditional financial landscape of Hong Kong.

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