Hong Kong, 1 of the primary and crucial economic centers in the globe, has played a major purpose in the growth of cryptocurrencies. For illustration, the Chinese territory has spawned some of the oldest and most prosperous crypto organizations to date, such as crypto derivatives exchange FTX, along with digital asset platform Crypto .com.
However, as trillions of bucks are traded frequently by means of established crypto exchanges in Hong Kong, the “Vertical City” also incorporates a plethora of more than-the-counter crypto stores. Henri Arslanian, PwC crypto workforce leader and former president of the Hong Kong Fintech Association, advised Cointelegraph that the quantity of regular OTC crypto brokers in Hong Kong unquestionably stands out. “These are really brick-and-mortar stores for the retail public,” he stated.
An anonymous supply advised Cointelegraph that when traveling close to Hong Kong, he could not assistance but recognize a massive maximize in OTC crypto exchanges, some of which even offer you accessibility to crypto ATMs.
OTC retail outlets make up Hong Kong’s crypto culture
Compared to areas like the US or Europe, in which it is pretty effortless to obtain and promote cryptocurrencies on regulated exchanges, Hong Kong’s bodily crypto outlets are a special brand that presents give men and women one more way to accessibility cryptocurrency.
Kelvin Yeung, CEO and founder of the Hong Kong Digital Asset Exchange, or HKD, sheds some light on the matter. Yeung advised Cointelegraph that crypto exchange HKD was founded in 2019, the bodily retail outlet was established in January of this yr, and it employs additional than thirty personnel to give purchaser services.
Yeung additional commented that HKD’s retail outlet operates similarly to a regular financial institution, offering buyers bodily accessibility to obtaining cryptocurrencies, along with accessibility to 1-on-1 consulting solutions. . As this kind of, he believes that retail outlets will most very likely be a worldwide trend in the long term as cryptocurrencies go mainstream:
“As additional and additional traders and institutional traders enter the market and digital currencies come to be mainstream, there will be a tendency to open bodily outlets mixed with on the net platforms. “.
Yeung added that he believes greater customer trust is built between HKD and its user base due to its physical presence. “Our users are mostly between the ages of 40 and 70. The older customer base plays an important role in creating mainstream adoption as many of these still hold fiat currency and only trust in traditional financial systems,” he commented.
What’s interesting is that it’s not just the older generation that buys crypto at these physical locations. Priscilla Ng, founder of Coiner HK – another Hong Kong OTC retail exchange – told Cointelegraph that CoinerHK was launched in early 2020 to focus on the women’s market: “We wanted to create a women’s market.” market for women because we want to promote the idea that women can be financially independent and invest on their own. “
As this kind of, Ng shared that CoinerHK’s buyers are primarily gals, ordinarily involving twenty and 50 many years previous, and about 70% of them are trading cryptocurrencies. Ng also mentioned that CoinerHK has two bodily retail outlet destinations in the gold district of Hong Kong.
Echoing Yeung, Ng additional that acquiring bodily OTC exchanges can offer you buyers better options: “We treat them as friends when it comes to trading and also give our customers confidence in them as well. me since we own the physical locations.” Ng additional commented that CoinerHK’s Wanchai venue also serves as an artwork gallery featuring non-edible tokens (NFTs).
Regulations could push out bodily OTC exchanges
While bodily OTC crypto exchanges this kind of as HKD and CoinerHK seem to be supplying additional accessibility to cryptocurrencies across Hong Kong, some regulatory hazards are related with facility styles. this.
For illustration, Arslanian explains that in addition to standard buyers, mainland Chinese travelers are also the target buyers of these establishments. He mentioned that a lot of of these outlets are situated in tourist parts to appeal to consumers, but in particular appeal to Chinese travelers due to the crypto ban in China: “One could argue that if mainland Chinese tourists visit Hong Kong, nothing will stop them from buying crypto at these OTC stores. “
With this in mind, Arslanian believes there could be an increase in retail OTC hubs in Hong Kong due to the influx of Chinese tourists interested in buying crypto. On the other hand, Arslanian mentioned that Hong Kong’s upcoming regulatory framework for crypto exchanges could cause these stores to close completely.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Financial Services and the Treasury Department of Hong Kong have considered restricting crypto access to investment portfolios with at least $1 million in assets. If passed, the new guidelines would restrict cryptocurrency access to about 93% of the city’s population.
While this is a big challenge for physical OTC stores, Arslanian commented that OTC stores could simply move their operations underground. However, he notes that this then increases the risk for customers: “In the event of an incident, the public is less likely to report it to the authorities.”
Regarding the regulatory uncertainty, Yeung commented that the major challenge HKD is at this time dealing with is comprehending irrespective of whether Hong Kong will quickly only make it possible for institutional traders to invest in cryptocurrencies: “This will have a major impact on our business.” Arslanian additional that regulated crypto exchanges not getting ready to serve retail buyers is one thing the crypto local community is very opposed to as this could really very well lead to consumers switching to platforms. not managed.
Unfortunately, Arslanian also factors out that it will be very complicated for real OTC outlets to get the accurate license, even if they consider to be thoroughly regulated. For now, Yeung described that HKD only demands legitimate ID and tackle verification to obtain and promote crypto on the exchange.
It is exciting to see that at this time, the only regulated crypto exchange in Hong Kong is OSL, which is also a unit of the Fidelity-backed BC group. OSL CEO and head of exchange Andrew Walton explained to Cointelegraph that OSL was goal-constructed with laws in thoughts and even practiced self-regulation prior to some of the current laws have been implemented. promulgate.
Additionally, Walton shared that OSL has been established underneath Singapore’s Payment Services Act, or PSA, and has on top of that registered for a digital payment token, or DPT, license. by means of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Recent extraordinary regulatory approvals have permitted OSL to increase its organization into Latin America. “In Latin America, the OSL Exchange product will initially be offered to institutional and professional investors in the region, in Mexico, Colombia and Argentina. OSL’s LatAm offering will also seek appropriate licensing as regulations evolve in the region,” additional Walton.
Retail traders are required from a organization point of view
While OSL’s work is without a doubt impressive, Arslanian factors out that a whole lot of income is normally created from retail buyers obtaining and marketing cryptocurrencies on exchanges and, in flip, retail movement. appeal to institutional customers. As this kind of, he mentioned that Hong Kong’s willingness to force crypto exchanges to only cater to institutional traders is a complicated necessity from a organization point of view. While this is achievable, Walton commented that OSL has viewed a sizeable maximize in curiosity in the institutional section more than the previous yr.
Given the ongoing regulatory uncertainty more than cryptocurrencies, Arslanian described that Hong Kong is most very likely ideal suited for institutional traders, when Singapore could be additional very affordable for retail customers. odd.