Hong Kong’s largest virtual bank by assets, ZA Bank, is set to offer account services to crypto firms, as well as facilitate crypto-to-fiat exchanges, allowing token deposits at licensed exchanges to be withdrawn in Hong Kong dollars, Chinese yuan, and US dollars. ZA Bank will also act as a settlement bank to enable the aforementioned services. However, CEO Ronald Iu clarified that the bank would not offer these services to clients from mainland China due to the country’s restrictions. The announcement comes as US-based companies struggle to find local banking partners, resulting in them seeking alternatives abroad.
The move follows Hong Kong regulators’ efforts to transform the region into a crypto hub, with many in the crypto community considering the approach taken by Hong Kong to be more promising than that of US regulators, who have shown hostility towards the industry. The bank’s decision comes after a trial in a regulatory sandbox that saw around 100 companies participate. Chinese state-owned banks have also reportedly expressed interest in crypto firms moving to Hong Kong, offering banking services or making inquiries with them.