Hata obtains in-principle approval from Securities Commission Malaysia to operate as a digital asset exchange, eyes partnerships in Singapore and broader Asia next


10/10/20232 min read

Kuala Lumpur-headquartered crypto platform Hata has become the latest entrant in the local digital asset exchange (DAX) business, securing licensing and regulation from the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC).

The brainchild of David Low, former Asia Pacific General Manager at Luno, Hata Digital Sdn Bhd, is now the recipient of conditional approval from the SC, enabling it to facilitate cryptocurrency trading once it fulfills the regulator’s stipulated requirements over the next six to nine months. The firm now joins Luno Malaysia, MX Global, Sinegy DAX, and Tokenize Technology to become the fifth regulated DAX to trade within the Southeast Asian country.

First digital broker

One interesting aspect of Hata’s approval is that it also marks the first DAX to receive digital broker status from the SC. This unique status allows Hata to display trade orders from other exchanges on its website or mobile application, giving users access to a broader spectrum of trading opportunities.

Hata can match its users’ trades with those available on other exchanges or provide them with cryptocurrency prices from these exchanges. However, it is essential that the exchanges Hata collaborates with are licensed by authorities in “competent jurisdictions,” such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and gain approval from the SC.

Low shared his vision, stating:

“With the goal of challenging the existing norms, we plan to make digital assets investing easier for institutional investors, businesses, and high-net-worth individuals in Malaysia. And we look forward to launching the platform soon.”

Luno competitor

Low’s departure from Luno adds an intriguing dynamic to Malaysia’s digital asset industry, given his pivotal role in expanding Luno’s presence in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. At the time of his departure, Luno was widely acknowledged to have commanded over 90% of the local cryptocurrency trading market share, with some estimating it as high as 98%.

Low is now stepping into the realm of competition with his former colleagues and company, where he had previously invested significant effort and resources to foster growth.

Hata boasts two other Co-Founders, Darien Ng, Chief Revenue Officer, and Chong Kwai Kun, Chief Technology Officer, both with extensive expertise in blockchain technology and software development in Malaysia since 2018.

Low stated that the “SC’s decision to grant us conditional approval to operate a DAX represents a vote of confidence in us and the digital asset industry. This is a significant milestone for my team and I at Hata, after months of extensive efforts.”

One-stop crypto platform

He continued: “Hata wants to enable safe and effortless cryptocurrency access and we look forward to being a one-stop and reliable platform for our customers, with our suite of products and services.”

Low emphasized their goal of challenging existing norms, making digital asset investing more accessible to institutional investors, businesses, and high-net-worth individuals in Malaysia.

The exchange’s founder also commended the SC’s efforts in expanding the regulated market operator framework to allow DAXs to operate as digital brokers. In addition, Hata has obtained a money broker license from the Labuan Financial Services Authority, reinforcing its efforts to operate as a compliant and secure platform.