ZA Bank, the largest online-only bank in Hong Kong, has started offering cryptocurrency conversion services through licensed crypto exchanges, according to a Bloomberg report on Wednesday.

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Fast facts

  • ZA Bank is working with HashKey and OSL – the only two licensed crypto exchanges based in Hong Kong – to allow users to withdraw crypto deposits in U.S. dollars, Hong Kong dollars and Chinese yuan, ZA Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Ronald Iu told Bloomberg. He said more exchanges will be added after they get licensed in Hong Kong.
  • However, users from mainland China cannot access this service due to the country’s ban on cryptocurrency trading, according to Iu.
  • ZA Bank is the first licensed virtual bank in Hong Kong and the largest of its kind in the city in terms of customer deposits, which totaled around US$900 million in June 2022, according to a report by KPMG
  • The lender is backed by ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co., an online-only insurance company based in mainland China. The company’s founders include Tencent, the technology giant running Wechat, China’s dominant social media platform; and Ant Group, which owns Alipay, the country’s leading online payment platform.
  • Hong Kong has revealed plans to become a global hub for the digital asset industry, laying out a licensing regime for virtual asset services providers that will take effect in June. City officials said as many as 80 firms in the industry have set up business in Hong Kong.
  • The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the central bank of the city, will host a meeting between cryptocurrency firms and bankers on April 28 to help improve liquidity in the digital asset industry, according to a Bloomberg report on March 28. This contrasts with reports from the U.S. on crypto companies struggling to find bank partners after the collapses of three crypto-friendly banks.
  • Hong Kong’s ambitions are also receiving support from mainland China, with multiple Chinese state-owned lenders’ Hong Kong branches now providing banking services to crypto-related firms.

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