Huobi Exchange Plots Return to US Crypto Market as Soon as This Month, Exec Says

Global crypto exchange Huobi Group could be back in the U.S. market as early as this month, a group vice president told CoinDesk.

Such a move would come five months after Huobi’s San Francisco-based over-the-counter (OTC) brokerage, Huobi US (HBUS), abruptly halted operations, citing unspecified regulatory roadblocks. At the time, Singapore-based Huobi Group said it would return but did not give a timeframe.

Now, the exchange aims to relaunch this business in partnership with a local licensed trading platform, said Ciara Sun, Huobi Group’s vice president of global business. This would allow it to be compliant with regulations at a lower cost, she said.

“By working with a fully regulated local partner, we don’t have to apply for licenses to run the businesses from every state,” Sun said. “We will come back as Huobi Group and there will not be a separate legal entity like Huobi US anymore.”

According to Sun, Huobi has been in talks with a crypto brokerage about a potential strategic partnership that could involve Huobi acquiring a minority stake. She would not identify the brokerage.

Read more: Huobi Adds Crypto ‘Circuit Breaker’ After Last Week’s Mass Liquidations

Through the partnership, the exchange would offer asset management services along with OTC brokerage, both exclusively for institutional investors in the U.S. The exchange will extend its offering to retail investors there eventually, Sun said.

Regulatory hurdles

Huobi is one of a few major global exchanges that originated in China. Data provider Nomics ranks it first by year-to-date volume (with the caveat that it has a “C” rating for transparency).

The exchange’s U.S. affiliate had an auspicious start. Before its official launch in March 2018 HBUS registered as a money services business (MSB) with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department.

A year later, the U.S. entity hired Katelyn Mew, a veteran of asset management giant…

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