DEC 28, 2023
ZA Bank gears up for retail crypto app offering
Hong Kong-based ZA Bank has published a “2023 in review” blog post that suggests that the virtual bank is preparing to bring retail virtual asset trading to retail customers through its ZA Bank App.
In the blog article which was published to its website last week, Hong Kong’s largest virtual bank expressed its dedication to bolstering Hong Kong’s aspiration to emerge as a global hub for Web3. As the city embraces a new licensing regime for virtual asset trading platforms, ZA Bank unveiled its plans to introduce fiat currency-based virtual asset trading services for retail investors through the ZA Bank App.
The bank first aired the notion of such an offering back in May. Its renewed coverage of the topic would seem to suggest that such a product offering is much closer to launch. Additionally, the bank anticipates the launch of its U.S. stock trading service after obtaining necessary approvals, promising a stream of innovative and exciting services in the future.
News of the bank’s proposed retail offering aligns with moves being made by local regulators over the course of recent months to enable retail access to crypto-based products within the Chinese autonomous territory.
In June, a regulatory framework was put in place by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) to enable licensed virtual asset platforms to market to retail investors. In recent days it has emerged that regulators are prepared to accept applications for spot crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF) products which would be made available to retail investors.
Banking the crypto sector
ZA Bank also announced that it has been providing banking support to more than 80 Web3 companies since the beginning of this year, aligning with its commitment to “Banking for Web3,” introduced in April.
Notable among the roster of supported companies is OKX Hong Kong, with ZA Bank serving as the trusted banking partner for locally licensed virtual asset trading platforms (VATPs) such as HashKey and OSL.
The bank, which was established by ZhongAn Online and Beststar in 2018, has served an important banking role in respect of the digital assets sector in Hong Kong in 2023. While the authorities in Hong Kong appear to have pulled out all of the stops over the course of the past year to nurture crypto business, banking was identified as an area of difficulty.
In June, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) explicitly questioned the reluctance of some major banks to extend services to crypto companies, applying pressure on them to do so. Given that background, ZA Bank, being a first mover in embracing the industry, has played an important role in Hong Kong.
ZA Bank’s impact is evident in its significant market presence, with one in 10 Hong Kong adults choosing the institution for their banking needs. The ZA Bank App earned the distinction of being the highest-rated banking app on Hong Kong’s Google Play in 2023.
The bank has surpassed HKD 10 billion in customer deposits and secured the top spot in Asia in the Sia Partners 2023 International Mobile Banking Benchmark, maintaining the sixth position globally.