Bitget exits Hong Kong crypto market, drops license application

abdelaziz Fathi

Seychelles-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitget has decided not to pursue a Virtual Asset Trading Platform (VATP) license in Hong Kong. The platform is urging users to withdraw their assets before the shutdown date, as it will no longer be accessible afterward.

On November 13, Bitget announced that its Hong Kong division, BitgetX, will wind down its operations by December 13, 2023. BitgetX, which had been functioning under the domain, was initially set up for spot trading and peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers. However, following this pivot, the platform has transitioned to a withdrawal-only mode, discontinuing all trading activities immediately.

“It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that due to business and market-related considerations, we have decided not to apply for a Virtual Asset Trading Platform (VATP) license in Hong Kong. At the same time, will permanently withdraw from the Hong Kong market,” the exchange said.

Hong Kong has introduced a new licensing regime for crypto asset service providers in June, which also accommodated retail trading. This regulatory framework has seen successful applicants like Hashkey and SEBA, but Bitget’s decision to step back from this market contrasts with the actions of these firms.

Bitget has recently revealed plans to expand its operations into the Middle East and is expected to hire up to 60 new team members to support the growth plan. As part of this initiative, the company established a representative office in downtown Dubai, considering the emirate’s attractiveness as a prime hotbed of crypto activity.

Additionally, Bitget is exploring opportunities in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) while considering the establishment of a regional headquarters in the region. The exchange is actively recruiting for new roles after several candidates were already hired for middle- and back-office positions.

Bitget has been scaling its global reach, recently registering as a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) in Poland and securing similar approval in Lithuania. The Singaporean centralized platform, which debuted in 2018, is a diverse crypto exchange that supports spot and futures trading, copy trading, farming and staking services.

Bitget also acts as Juventus official partner and official cryptocurrency exchange partner, and its first-ever sleeve partner. The cryptocurrency derivatives exchange reportedly has 1.6 million registered users in 48 countries and regions including UK, France, Italy, South Korea, Japan, and Russia.

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