ZA Bank, the largest virtual-only financial institution in Hong Kong, intends to expand into the region’s growing digital asset sector. The banking platform will offer crypto-to-fiat conversion and account services as China’s financial centers seek to embrace the industry.
ZA Bank to offer services to licensed crypto exchanges in Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s first and largest virtual bank, co-founded by Chinese billionaire Ou Yaping, seeks to facilitate digital currency and fiat money transfers for participants in Hong Kong’s growing crypto sector, Bloomberg reported, citing the lender’s top executive.
According to CEO Ronald Iu, ZA Bank will offer crypto-to-fiat currency conversion through a licensed exchange and act as a settlement bank for customers who want to deposit digital coins on its trading platform and withdraw Hong Kong dollars or Chinese yuan. Yiu noted:
Many companies, large and small, domestic and international, are interested in setting a path to make things work.
Reportedly, ZA Bank is already working with two currently licensed crypto exchanges in Hong Kong, Hashkey and OSL. They intend to offer their services to other exchanges in the future as more platforms become licensed in the SAR of China.
In a post-pandemic world, Hong Kong is opening its doors to the crypto space despite its recent troubles. It is trying to revive its status as a global financial center with the goal of becoming a crypto hub.
Despite a crackdown on crypto activity on the mainland, there are signs that Hong Kong’s foray into the crypto market is gaining Beijing’s support.30} reportrevealed in late March that Chinese state-owned banks are ready to offer their services to Hong Kong crypto companies. One of China’s largest insurance companies helped launch two crypto-focused funds in early April.
Hong Kong authorities are currently working on a review of its legal framework to allow the opening of cryptocurrency exchanges to retail investors. In addition, Hong Kong’s financial regulators are taking steps to improve access to banking services for crypto-related companies.
Currently, ZA Bank plans to trade only with licensed digital asset exchanges. The company has implemented anti-money laundering (AML) checks in accordance with existing requirements, and according to Devon Sin, the company’s alternative chief executive officer, there have been no AML issues over the past several months.
Virtual Bank also offers online accounts for Web3 startups and other small businesses. The report details that about 100 such companies have been able to use the company’s services after a pilot in the regulator’s sandbox.
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