Hong Kong's Clear Exchange Licensing Attracts Traditional Brokerages

Here are some of the major developments in the world of crypto over the past few days.
 some of the major developments in the world of crypto
some of the major developments in the world of crypto

Hong Kong's decision to allow retail crypto trading in August has spurred significant interest from traditional financial institutions and brokerages in obtaining digital asset licenses. Tiger Brokers, a Chinese stock brokerage, recently upgraded its Hong Kong Securities & Futures Commission (SFC) license to include crypto trading for professional investors and financial institutions in Hong Kong. With 865,500 funded accounts and $18.9 billion in managed assets, Tiger Brokers aims to offer virtual asset trading, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, alongside traditional offerings like stocks, options, futures, funds, and ETFs through its SFC-licensed platform.

Similarly, Victory Securities, a Hong Kong brokerage, obtained an SFC license in November to offer crypto trading services for retail investors. The company reported a doubling in virtual asset transactions and new customers in the third quarter compared to the previous quarter. To attract new customers, Victory Securities plans to launch trading discounts to promote compliant and safe virtual asset trading. OSL, a licensed Hong Kong crypto exchange, partnered with Interactive Brokers to offer Bitcoin and Ether trading to retail investors. Bybit has also applied for a retail trading license in Hong Kong, indicating the growing importance of crypto as an asset class and the integration of Web3 technology in fintech.

These developments underscore the increasing acceptance and adoption of cryptocurrencies in traditional financial markets, with Hong Kong emerging as a key player in the crypto trading landscape. The partnerships and licensing approvals signify a significant shift towards mainstream recognition and regulation of digital assets, providing investors with more options and opportunities in the evolving crypto market.

Starknet User Numbers Plummet Due to Growing Dissatisfaction with Token Distribution

Starknet, a blockchain platform, has experienced a significant drop in active users following dissatisfaction among its community regarding its Starknet Provisions Program airdrop. The blockchain saw its active users surge from under 20,000 on Feb. 9 to over 220,500 on Feb. 14, as users rushed to participate in the airdrop. However, once details of the drop were revealed for Feb. 20, active users plummeted to just over 84,000 on Feb. 19, near pre-announcement levels.

One major point of contention for Starknet users is the airdrop criteria, which excluded users with less than 0.005 Ether in their account on Nov. 15, 2023, from receiving tokens. This exclusion occurred despite some users having conducted significant transactions and provided liquidity to the network. Starknet acknowledged these concerns and stated on Feb. 19 that they were working to address them but noted that a resolution would take time.

Another issue contributing to dissatisfaction is the token unlock schedule, which disproportionately rewards Starknet investors and early contributors with 1.3 billion STRK, or about 13% of the total supply, on April 15, just two months after the platform launches. This stands in contrast to the distribution of around 700 million STRK, about 10% of the total supply, on Feb. 20. Despite the drop in active users, Starknet's total value locked remains at $54.18 million, showing a slight decrease from its all-time high of $57.5 million on Feb. 14, according to DefiLlama.

Trust in crypto exchange tokens recovers from FTX lows

Despite the challenges posed by FTX's bankruptcy in November 2022, crypto exchange tokens have demonstrated resilience and rebounded from their lows, with many reaching new all-time highs. Binance's BNB token, for instance, is currently trading at $352, up 32% from its value during FTX's bankruptcy. Furthermore, BNB has surpassed its previous highs from June 2023, when news of investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission emerged. Although Binance settled with the DOJ for $4.3 billion, the SEC lawsuit is ongoing.

OKX's OKB token has also experienced a significant recovery, gaining 132% from its lows during the FTX bankruptcy and achieving a total gain of 3,227% since its launch in May 2019. However, OKB faced a flash crash on January 25, resulting in losses of nearly $6.5 billion before fully recovering and reaching new highs. The exchange compensated affected users through an airdrop.

Similarly, Bitget's BGB token has surged to all-time highs of $1.03, with a yearly gain of 159%. Last September, Bitget announced a $100 million fund called "EmpowerX" for blockchain, AI, and Web3 projects, anticipating increased investments, mergers, and acquisitions in response to evolving regulations in the centralized exchange landscape. Conversely, FTX's FTT token has plummeted by over 90% from its pre-bankruptcy highs, reflecting the challenges faced by the exchange despite its efforts to repay customers.

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