A subsidiary of the Huobi cryptocurrency exchange called HBIT Inc has received its Money Services Business (MSB) license from the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
The Seychelles based Huobi said on July 5 that the license creates a foundation for it to carry out crypto-related business in the U.S. in the future, as part of its strategic goals of “globalization and compliance”. The exchange is a major player, with more than $1 billion in volume in the past 24 hours according to CoinGecko.
Before the great crypto crackdown by Chinese authorities most Huobi users came from China, but according to the latest figures from Statista, most users in February 2022 originated from Russia and Ukraine.
The MSB license allows Huobi’s subsidiary to transmit money and operate as a fiat currency exchange, a required step by U.S. regulators to ensure FinCEN can monitor financial crimes such as money laundering.
However, it does not allow it to provide crypto-exchange services — which would require a money transmitter license. It says in the future it expects to provide U.S. users with a compliant digital asset service.
Huobi said its subsidiaries in Hong Kong have also received asset management and securities advising licenses from the country’s Securities and Futures Commission.
The subsidiaries are also in the process of applying for a license to provide automated trading services and securities trading to become a fully compliant crypto-exchange in Hong Kong.
Huobi has been on a streak of licensing wins.
On June 21 the exchange won licenses in New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. The latter was an Innovation License which, while not a trading license, allows it to access the local tech industry and get special tax treatment.
At the time, Huobi Group chief financial officer Lily Zhang told Cointelegraph it plans to receive its license to offer its full suite of crypto exchange services under Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA).
It hasn’t been all good news though, with the exchange’s Thai license revoked on June 16 after it reportedly failed to comply with local regulations. There are also rumors of significant staff layoffs and that its founder might be looking to exit the business
Hong Kong based crypto reporter Colin Wu reported on June 28 that Huboi intended to lay off up to 30% of its staff, with a later update on July 2 reporting rumors that Huboi founder Li Lin is looking to sell his 50% stake.
EXCLUSIVE: Huobi founder Li Lin is looking to sell his stake in Huobi. Li Lin currently holds more than 50% of the shares. The second largest shareholder of Huobi is Sequoia China. Huobi’s revenue plummeted after it wiped out all Chinese users and is laying off staff. https://t.co/67KOlW9aT9
— Wu Blockchain (@WuBlockchain) July 1, 2022
The exchange reportedly lost around 30% of its revenue due to losing its Chinese based users due to the country’s restrictions on crypto trading.
To date, Huobi has not publicly responded to the speculation.