HTX Resubmits Hong Kong Crypto License Application

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  • HTX’s Hong Kong branch, previously Huobi Global, has resubmitted its application for a Hong Kong trading license
  • The exchange withdrew its license days after submitting it
  • HBGL Hong Kong Limited hasn’t disclosed reasons for the withdrawal and resubmission, but speculations about owner Justin Sun’s departure prompted him to showcase his personal bitcoin balance

The Hong Kong branch of cryptocurrency exchange HTX, formerly Huobi Global, has reapplied for a license to operate in the region having withdrawn it just days after initially applying. HBGL Hong Kong Limited did not reveal the reasons why it withdrew and resubmitted its application, but rumors over owner Justin Sun abandoning the company prompted him to post his personal bitcoin balance on the exchange on X. Companies selling cryptocurrencies to Hong Kong residents must apply for a license by February 29 or halt business by June 1.

Justin Sun Proves He Cares

HTX announced plans to apply for a Hong Kong license last February, hoping to launch Huobi Hong Kong as an independent operation. Originating from Beijing, HTX ranks as the world’s fifth-largest cryptocurrency exchange by 24-hour trading volume. The company filed with the SFC on February 23 but raised eyebrows when it withdrew its filing yesterday.

The move prompted speculation about the company’s financial position and whether owner Justin Sun still cared for it. Sun responded by posting the bitcoin balance he holds on the exchange, which he claims sits at 28,613 BTC ($1.6 billion):

HBGL quelled concerns by resubmitting its application shortly after withdrawing it, suggesting that the withdrawal was merely down to an administration error, still in line with the impending deadline for cryptocurrency exchanges seeking legal operation in Hong Kong. 

Exchanges Running Out of Time to Register

As per the new regulatory framework, companies marketing cryptocurrencies to residents must apply for a license by February 29 or halt business by June 1. Despite limited international applications, Hong Kong remains attractive, especially for firms with connections to mainland China.

Leading companies in the crypto industry, including OKX and HKVAEX with ties to Binance, have also submitted applications. Binance, although headquartered in the Seychelles, has strong Chinese connections, evidenced by its founder’s previous presence in Dubai and its CEO’s current location there., originating from Hong Kong and headquartered in Singapore, also applied for a license this month. As of Tuesday, 20 companies have submitted license applications to the SFC.