Hong Kong’s OSL Crypto Exchange Explores Sale at $128 Million Valuation
Hong Kong-based BC Technology Group Ltd. is reportedly in the early stages of considering the sale of its crypto exchange platform OSL.
OSL is one of only two exchanges in Hong Kong licensed under the digital-asset rules introduced by the city in June.
As per the Bloomberg report, BC Technology has been testing the waters, reaching out to potential buyers, including industry players and investment funds.
Sources familiar with the matter have hinted at a valuation of approximately HK$1 billion, equivalent to $128 million, in discussions.
OSL’s platform plays a multifaceted role within the crypto ecosystem, offering prime brokerage, exchange, and custody services for the crypto market.
Additionally, it provides essential infrastructure to financial institutions, facilitating their engagement in virtual-asset trading.
The possibility of a partial sale of OSL, rather than an outright sale of the entire business, is also under consideration, sources have disclosed.
The report further cited its sources saying that there is no assurance that these deliberations will culminate in a finalized deal.
Hong Kong Pushes Stringent Regulatory Framework
This development unfolds in the context of Hong Kong’s efforts to position itself as a hub for the digital asset sector.
New digital-asset regulations were introduced on June 1, enabling retail investors to trade larger tokens on licensed exchanges.
Despite this regulatory push, demand for cryptocurrencies in Hong Kong has been somewhat lackluster, partly attributed to the fallout from last year’s market turbulence and subsequent business failures.
The stringent regulatory framework in Hong Kong may result in higher operating costs for crypto-related businesses.
BC Technology’s interim report shows a reduction in net losses, narrowing from HK$300 million to HK$95 million in the six months ended in June.
OSL’s digital assets and blockchain platform business have played a pivotal role in BC Technology’s income, according to the report.
However, the interim report also reveals that the digital-asset trading volume on OSL decreased by nearly half, from HK$112.6 billion in the first half of 2022 to the same period in 2023.
BC Technology’s Shares Down 80% From Its Peak
BC Technology’s market value has experienced fluctuations, with recent growth pushing it to nearly HK$1.9 billion from a low point in August of the same year.
Despite this increase, the company’s shares are still down by 80% from their peak in June 2021, during the cryptocurrency boom triggered by the pandemic.
OSL had previously withdrawn its application for a digital-asset license in Singapore and is now preparing a revised submission.
In this process, some of its Singapore-based clients are being relocated to the exchange in Hong Kong, according to an individual familiar with the matter.
Currently, HashKey Exchange is the only other platform in Hong Kong with a crypto permit. The already stringent licensing process may face heightened scrutiny following the controversy surrounding the unlicensed JPEX exchange, which authorities allege defrauded investors of HK$1.6 billion.