ZA Bank, Hong Kong’s largest virtual-only lender, intends to expand its business into the region’s growing digital asset sector. The banking platform will offer crypto-to-fiat conversions and account services as China’s financial hub seeks to embrace the industry.
ZA Bank will provide services to licensed crypto exchanges in Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s first and largest virtual bank, co-founded by Chinese billionaire Ou Yaping, is seeking to facilitate digital and fiat currency transfers for participants in the city’s developing crypto sector, Bloomberg reported quoting the top officer of the lender.
According to CEO Ronald Iu, ZA Bank will offer crypto-to-fiat currency conversions through licensed exchanges, acting as a settlement bank for customers who deposit digital coins on trading platforms and wish to withdraw dollars. from Hong Kong and the United States or Chinese yuan. Iu pointed out:
For the dozen or so interested companies, big or small, foreign and local, their main concern is having a way to make things work.
According to the report, ZA Bank is already working with the two crypto exchanges currently licensed in Hong Kong, Hashkey and OSL. It intends to provide the service to others as more platforms get licensed to operate in the special administrative region of China.
In a post-pandemic world, Hong Kong has opened up to the crypto space, despite its recent troubles. In a bid to become a crypto hub, the city is looking to revive its status as a global financial hub.
There have been signs that Hong Kong’s push into the crypto market has support from Beijing, despite the crackdown on crypto activity on the mainland. A report revealed in late March that China’s state-owned banks were ready to serve the city’s crypto companies. One of China’s largest insurers backed the launch of two crypto-focused funds in early April.
Hong Kong authorities are currently working on overhauling the legal framework for cryptocurrency exchanges to allow them to open up to retail investors. Financial regulators in the region are also taking steps to improve access to banking services for crypto companies.
Currently, ZA Bank plans to engage only with licensed digital asset exchanges. It conducts anti-money laundering (AML) checks in accordance with existing requirements and has had no AML issues in recent months, according to its deputy chief executive Devon Sin.
The virtual bank also opens online accounts for Web3 startups and other small and medium-sized businesses. A hundred of these companies have access to its services after a test in a regulatory sandbox, details the report.
Do you expect Hong Kong to continue to improve access to banking services for crypto companies? Tell us in the comments section below.
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