Interactive Brokers Hong Kong has clinched approval for retail virtual asset trading in Hong Kong. The news was officially shared by the Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Interactive Brokers, David Friedland, in a recent LinkedIn post.

Expanding Virtual Asset Trading Portfolio

The brokerage firm’s approval extends to the trading of virtual assets, primarily focusing on Bitcoin and Ethereum at the moment. Further details about the licensing will be disclosed in the forthcoming official announcement.

Notably, this development occurs amidst a burgeoning crypto industry in Hong Kong. This has witnessed an influx of companies seeking local licensing. Hashkey paved the way by obtaining a specific license in August to offer crypto assets to retail investors.

Subsequently, the Swiss crypto bank SEBA secured approval from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in November. This further enabled it to provide diverse crypto-related services to clients in the region.

Navigating Challenges in the Hong Kong Crypto Scene

However, the thriving crypto scene in Hong Kong faced challenges in September. This was when the unlicensed crypto exchange JPEX allegedly scammed investors of nearly $165 million. This incident prompted regulators to reassess and update crypto policies in response to market developments and industry inquiries.

Also, a month after the JPEX scandal, Hong Kong regulators introduced updates to crypto policies. The revised policy stipulates that specific digital currency offerings will be restricted to professional investors. Crypto intermediaries are now mandated to evaluate their clients’ knowledge of investing in virtual assets before facilitating transactions.

Low Awareness of Virtual Asset Regulations Among Retail Investors

Also. a recent survey conducted by the Investor and Financial Education Council (IFEC) of Hong Kong revealed that only 47% of retail investors in the region are aware of local virtual asset regulations. This highlights the need for increased awareness and education in the rapidly evolving landscape of virtual asset trading.

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