Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency ‘unicorn’ considers direct listing in US

September 30, 2021

Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency 'unicorn' considers direct listing in US

Hong Kong-based financial services provider Amber Group is considering a direct listing in the US. Speaking to the South China Morning Post, the company's co-founder and CEO Michael Wu said it could enter the stock market within the next two years.

"A direct listing is definitely being considered. Probably next year or the year after. We are working on it. The US is the most likely venue, but we are looking at other options," Wu said.

Amber Group was founded in 2017 by exits from investment bank Morgan Stanley. The company manages more than $1.5bn in assets and employs more than 400 people.

In June, the firm closed a Series B financing round led by China Renaissance. Amber Group raised $100m and its valuation reached $1bn.

The company serves institutional and retail investors. It offers them crypto savings accounts as well as services related to algorithmic and high-frequency trading, OTC transactions, derivatives and lending.

According to Wu, the listing is not needed so that "some people can cash out". The procedure will allow the company to increase brand awareness, attract talent and reduce financing costs.

Some aspects of Amber Group's operations, such as the aforementioned crypto-savings accounts, could cause concern for US regulators. Bitcoin exchange Coinbase had earlier declined to launch a similar product, due to possible prosecution by the SEC.

Wu stressed that his company wants to increase its presence in the US market, so "will play by US rules". He explained that Amber Group would shut down US customers' access to certain products if required by regulators.

"I think the US takes a more conservative approach when it comes to cryptocurrencies than the rest of the world. Most of our business is in other countries. We will look at the cases of each jurisdiction separately," Wu said.

He added that Amber Group's loan products have already been approved in some countries.

Recall that in September, regulators in the U.S. states of Texas, New Jersey and Alabama accused cryptocurrency lending service Celsius Network of trading in unregistered securities.

Cryptolending platform BlockFi faced similar claims - regulators in Texas, Vermont, New Jersey and Alabama are reviewing BIA's savings account offerings for legality.

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About the author

Hi there, my name is Zalman Weinberg. I'm enthusiast with over 7 years of experience in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Professional Trader providing Blockchain solutions to Startups and Enterprises. Expert in all cryptocurrency exchange APIs (BitMEX, Bittrex, Binance, Bitfinex, Kraken, Poloniex, Gdax etc.). I have also worked with multiple Forex broker APIs.

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