Following the approval of several spot Bitcoin ETF applications in the U.S., regulators in Hong Kong see the first financial institutions trying to jump on the crypto ETF bandwagon.
The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) received its first spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) application, as reported by local media Tencent News.
The application was submitted by Harvest Hong Kong, one of China’s largest fund managers, to the Hong Kong SFC on Jan. 26. Except for the pioneer applicant, there are reportedly about 10 other regional financial institutions which have signalled their interest in launching a spot BTC ETF in 2024.
This list includes local financial giant Venture Smart Financial Holdings. Samsung Asset Management also reportedly doesn’t “eliminate the possibility of exploring to launch a spot ETF.”
The boost in interest for crypto ETFs was triggered by the recent long-expected approval of a few spot Bitcoin ETF products by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The ETF approval in the U.S. came more than ten years after the first Spot Bitcoin ETF request was denied. Over this decade, numerous applications failed or were revised multiple times. However, once the main regulator’s conditions were reached, the SEC ultimately approved a whole bunch of applications, including investment products from ARK 21Shares, Invesco Galaxy, VanEck, WisdomTree, Fidelity, Valkyrie, BlackRock, Grayscale, Bitwise, Hashdex and Franklin Templeton.
According to the Tencent News report, the Hong Kong regulator may adhere to a similar strategy and approve multiple spot ETFs at a time to ensure a level playing field and fair competition.
The report also noted that the regulatory body is actively working on the approval process to be able to launch the first Hong Kong spot Bitcoin ETF soon after the Chinese New Year on Feb. 10.
The crypto ETF approval in Hong Kong may go smoother than in the U.S. since the SFC introduced favourable crypto investing regulations in 2023 and started receiving applications for crypto trading platform licenses. The institution also expressed its readiness to prepare for authorisation of various funds, including digital asset spot ETFs and existing crypto futures ETFs.