The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) reportedly received its first spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) application just weeks after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved the first spot BTC ETF in the United States.
Harvest Hong Kong — one of China’s largest fund managers — submitted a spot Bitcoin ETF application to the Hong Kong SFC on Jan. 26, reported Tencent News. The report added that the regulatory body is actively working to expedite the process for approval of ETFs in the country to launch the first Hong Kong spot Bitcoin ETF after the Chinese New Year on Feb. 10.
According to the report, the Hong Kong regulatory body may follow a similar approach to the U.S. SEC and approve multiple spot ETFs to ensure a level playing field. While Harvest Fund might be the first applicant to file for a spot BTC ETF, it may not be the only one. Several regional financial institutions have signaled their interest in launching a spot BTC ETF in 2024.
As Cointelegraph reported on Jan. 19, at least 10 financial institutions in the country are actively working to launch a spot BTC ETF. Financial giant such as Venture Smart Financial Holdings have already set the first quarter of 2024 as their target to launch the spot ETF.
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Several existing crypto companies that launched futures-based crypto ETFs in Hong Kong are also expected to be among spot Bitcoin ETF filers. Samsung Asset Management, which launched the Samsung Bitcoin Futures ETF in 2023, reportedly said it wouldn’t “eliminate the possibility of exploring to launch a spot ETF.”
Hong Kong has emerged as one of the leading crypto destinations in Asia thanks to its regulator’s pro-crypto approach in 2023. The SFC created crypto-focused regulations in 2023, allowing institutional and retail investors to participate in crypto activities. Even before the U.S. SEC approved the first spot BTC ETF, the Hong Kong SFC opened the door for crypto-based ETFs and expressed its readiness to receive applications for the authorization of various funds, including digital asset spot ETFs and existing crypto futures ETFs.
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