last updated: 2017-11-19 version history
Buying Bitcoins in Hong Kong
The options on how to buy Bitcoin can be overwhelming at first. Unlike with centralized systems like Alipay or Paypal there is no ‘official’ way to fund your accounts, and fees vary across services and locations. As a rule of thumb, the more convenient and fast a HKD -> Bitcoin exchange is, the higher the fees are.
Compared with selling Bitcoin, there is little fraud risk associated with buying. Unfortunately Bitcoin still does not have the legal status in Hong Kong that it deserves, and banks are reluctant to deal with companies and individuals associated with Bitcoin. In this environment it is easy for scammers to attempt to defraud you of your Dollars or Bitcoins in certain kinds of transactions.
As banks are more aggressively acting against Bitcoin companies, trading bitcoins in person has become more popular again in Hong Kong recently. The website localbitcoins.com as well as the Android app Mycelium can be used to find people in Hong Kong to meet up with. If you just need a few dollars worth to ‘try it out’ or ‘play with’ or need help setting up or operating your wallet, you will likely find somebody to trade at the regular Bitcoin meetups.
Some OTC exchanges (see below) also deal with cash deposits and withdrawals. Clarify with your exchange or traders beforehand what currencies, notes and payment forms they accept.
The most convenient way to buy Bitcoins is an ATM. Usually you only need to show the ATM the QR code of your Bitcoin address, insert bank notes and confirm the exchange rate. The process takes less than 30 seconds, is anonymous but can cost up to 5% in fees. Prepare your wallet ahead of time, and bring exact change. ATMs generally accept only HKD bank notes.
Bitcoin ATMs are located at:
President Commercial Centre, Shop 322, 3/F, 608 Nathan Road, Mong Kok
S Tattoo Studio, 1/F, Reclamation Street 470F, Mong Kok
Shing Lee Shopping Arcade, Shop 19, 1/F, 6 Wing Kut Street, Central
T.Mark, Shop 329, 3/F, 18 Tai Ho Road, Tsuen Wan
CNT Tower, 18/F, 338 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai
Genesis Block, U/G, 273 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai
CHIC by The Oyster House, 2/F, The Cameron, 33 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
NDNX CoWork Tech Hub, 27/F, 35 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong
You may also browse coinatmradar.com for more or less up to date information on the location, uptime and rates of Bitcoin ATMs.
Buying Bitcoins on exchanges is usually the cheapest option in terms of fees and is relatively fast and convenient too. But it often requires a few days to set up an account and get verified, and you can expect exchanges based in Hong Kong to ask for your personal information like ID or address proof before you can start using their accounts. Please note that Bitcoin exchanges are not to be treated as banks. We recommend you to withdraw your coins quickly after your purchase to a wallet you control, and never keep any funds on an exchange for a longer time.
Hong Kong Exchanges
There are currently four exchanges with local Hong Kong bank accounts. Some of these exchanges also accept cash deposits and cheques.
ANX Once you are signed up and verified, depositing your Hong Kong dollars with ANX is easy. You can hand it over in cash at their main office in Wan Chai and it will be credited quickly to your account, where you can exchange them to Bitcoin and withdraw to your wallet.
Gatecoin Gatecoin is a well established Bitcoin exchange operating in a global market from Hong Kong. You can send them local wire transfers from your Hong Kong Dollar bank account and have them credited to your account after verification.
Tidebit Tidebit is the newest of Hong Kong Bitcoin exchanges. You can deposit cash for free or via wire transfer for a 2% fee.
For larger amounts, you can go to an OTC Exchange, or broker. A broker will give you a quick quote for a single trade, usually upwards of 50 BTC. You will be able to sell or buy Bitcoins against a wire transfer.
Gatecoin Same as the above mentioned exchange.
Octagon Financial Affiliated with ANX as mentioned above.
Genesis Block Opened in September 2017 in Wan Chai, the Genesis Block functions as an OTC trading hub as well as a co-working and event space.
Circle Trading Circle is a Boston-based financial services firm most popular for their money transfer app. They opened a Bitcoin OTC trading desk in Hong Kong in November 2017.
Some exchanges overseas serve the Hong Kong market. Wire transfers to these exchanges are more expensive, but often more reliable and there is significantly more market depth. Disputes however cannot easily be resolved through the Hong Kong legal system and can quickly become complicated and expensive to resolve.
Quoine Quoine is a Japanese exchange that offers HKD deposits into their Japanese bank accounts and HKD trading.
Gemini Gemini is a New York exchange that specializes on large volumes. It only accepts USD deposits and trading.
Decentralized Exchanges don’t have their own bank accounts. Instead, buyers and sellers interact directly with each other when transfering money. It is up to the user to follow the appropriate Anti-Money-Laundering and Know-Your-Customer rules. The Bitcoins are held in escrow by the exchange. It’s very important to make use of these escrow options and be careful who you interact with.
Localbitcoins Localbitcoins is a decentralized exchange managed from Finland.
Bisq Bisq (formerly Bitsquare) is not a company, and is not run by anybody. Instead it acts as a network of users, which you can join by downloading the Bitsquare software. This software might be experimental at times, but shows promise in leading the way to a truly decentralized future.
The by far cheapest way to get Bitcoins is to accept them as payment. No matter if you run a business, are employed, do freelance work or your friends owe you money, it may be a good idea to ask for these payments to be made in Bitcoin. Especially online and in international transfers the instantaneous and near-free Bitcoin transactions are far superior to other means.
If you have a business, you can consider accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment. Learn all about it here.
Feel free to comment about your experiences, thoughts and additions.