Interactive Brokers Partners with OSL to Launch Crypto Trading for Retail Clients in Hong Kong

Hong Kong
Source: Pixabay / Andy Leung

Interactive Brokers, an automated global electronic broker, is expanding cryptocurrency trading to retail investors in Hong Kong. The broker is now the first SFC-licensed securities broker to be approved to allow retail clients to trade cryptocurrencies in Hong Kong.

According to the announcement made on November 28, Interactive Brokers will be opening crypto trading for retail clients in Hong Kong in collaboration with OSL, a cryptocurrency exchange. This development allows Interactive Brokers’ retail investors in Hong Kong to have immediate access to digital asset trading through a single unified platform powered by OSL.

Hong Kong clients of Interactive Brokers can now hold Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) in their accounts alongside traditional assets like stocks, derivatives, commodities, forex, and others. Each trade is subject to a commission ranging from 0.20% to 0.30% of the transaction value.

The clients receive the benefits of centralized cash management as they can now trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, along with stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), event contracts, cryptocurrency futures, and futures options, all from a single account and interface.

As the exclusive digital asset trading platform for Interactive Brokers, OSL aims to broaden investor access to digital finance, emphasizing its commitment to setting global standards for performance, security, and compliance.

Hugh Madden, CEO of OSL and BC Group, stated,

“This expansion with Interactive Brokers is a testament to our enduring commitment to lead the regulated evolution of the digital asset market. Offering our cutting-edge services to retail investors aligns seamlessly with our strategy, bringing the benefits of such an asset class to a broader audience.”

The partnership signifies OSL’s dedication to collaborating with prominent names in traditional finance, demonstrating its role as a key player in bridging the gap between the traditional financial sector and the dynamic realm of digital assets. By providing extensive expertise, OSL aims to facilitate a smoother transition for financial institutions entering the digital asset space.

Interactive Brokers Expands Global Presence with Hong Kong License and Equity Investment

Interactive Brokers has continuously been undertaking measures to enhance its global presence. The company has recently received a license for retail virtual asset trading in Hong Kong, allowing the firm to broker trades in Bitcoin and Ethereum. The firm enables investors around the world to trade stocks through mobile applications.

In addition, Interactive Brokers was among the pioneers in introducing Overnight Trading for U.S. stocks and ETFs, allowing trading almost 24 hours a day, five days a week. The introduction of the Interactive Brokers app, IBKR Lite, has given investors the opportunity to trade commission-free, and this move is anticipated to enhance the company’s market share.

Hong Kong Cryptocurrency Market Faces Challenges Amidst Scandals and Regulatory Updates

Despite Hong Kong being among the first jurisdictions to issue licenses for cryptocurrency exchanges, its momentum has been hampered by a series of exchange scandals.

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

On November 25, Hounax, another unlicensed crypto exchange in Hong Kong, reportedly scammed 145 residents out of 148 million HKD ($18.9 million) through an alleged Ponzi scheme.

Despite the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong revising its cryptocurrency policies in October, citing “the latest market developments and inquiries from the industry,” the updated policies specify that certain digital currency offerings will be restricted to professional investors.

Additionally, crypto intermediaries are required to evaluate whether clients possess sufficient knowledge of investing in virtual assets before facilitating transactions.

However, a survey conducted by the Investor and Financial Education Council of Hong Kong revealed that only 47% of retail investors in the region are aware of the local regulations concerning virtual assets.

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