Interactive Brokers Hong Kong licensed in Hong Kong for retail virtual asset trading

The brokerage firm Interactive Brokers Hong Kong has been licensed for virtual asset trading by retail clients in Hong Kong, according to a post on LinkedIn by Interactive Brokers’ managing director for Asia Pacific, David Friedland.

The post says that Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) trading is allowed, with an official announcement coming soon.

Cointelegraph contacted Interactive Brokers for additional information and comments on the development but has not yet received a reply.

The announcement comes as the crypto industry expands in Hong Kong. The region has increasingly become a hotspot for crypto-related activities, with companies flocking to receive local licensing. 

Back in August, Hashkey was the first crypto exchange in Hong Kong to receive a license to offer crypto assets to retail investors. In November, Swiss crypto bank SEBA received a license from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) allowing it to offer various crypto-related services to clients in the region.

Related: Owner of Hong Kong crypto exchange OSL secures $90M investment

The Hong Kong crypto scene was faced with a scandal in September, however, when unlicensed crypto exchange JPEX allegedly scammed investors out of nearly $165 million. 

A month later, the SFC updated its crypto policies “in light of the latest market developments and inquiries from the industry” to state that certain digital currency offerings will only be available to professional investors. Moreover, crypto intermediaries should “assess whether clients have knowledge of investing in virtual assets” before handling transactions.

According to a recent survey by the Investor and Financial Education Council of Hong Kong, only 47% of retail investors in Hong Kong are aware of local virtual asset regulations. 

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