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Hong Kong Receives First Spot Bitcoin ETF Application

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is reportedly making significant strides in the crypto industry, as it recently received its first spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) application. This development comes just weeks after the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the very first spot Bitcoin ETF in the U.S.

Harvest Hong Kong, one of China’s prominent fund managers, submitted its application for a spot Bitcoin ETF to the Hong Kong SFC on January 26, as reported by Tencent News. The SFC is actively engaged in expediting the approval process for ETFs in Hong Kong, with the aim of launching the country’s inaugural spot Bitcoin ETF shortly after the Chinese New Year on February 10.

Following a similar approach to the U.S. SEC, the Hong Kong regulatory body is contemplating approving multiple spot ETFs to ensure a fair and competitive market. While Harvest Fund is the first applicant for a spot BTC ETF, it is expected that other regional financial institutions will follow suit, as several have expressed their interest in launching spot BTC ETFs in 2024.

As previously reported on January 19, at least ten financial institutions in Hong Kong are actively working towards launching spot BTC ETFs. Notably, Venture Smart Financial Holdings has set its target for launching the spot ETF in the first quarter of 2024.

Additionally, some existing crypto companies that have already introduced futures-based crypto ETFs in Hong Kong are also exploring the possibility of launching spot Bitcoin ETFs. Samsung Asset Management, known for launching the Samsung Bitcoin Futures ETF in 2023, has stated that it does not rule out the possibility of venturing into the spot ETF market.

Hong Kong has gained prominence as a leading crypto destination in Asia, largely due to its regulator’s pro-crypto stance in 2023. The SFC introduced crypto-focused regulations, enabling both institutional and retail investors to participate in crypto-related activities. Even before the U.S. SEC’s approval of the first spot BTC ETF, the Hong Kong SFC had already paved the way for crypto-based ETFs and expressed its willingness to accept applications for authorizing various funds, including digital asset spot ETFs and existing crypto futures ETFs. This development signals the growing acceptance and adoption of cryptocurrencies in Hong Kong’s financial landscape.

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