Hong Kong approves first batch of spot bitcoin, ether ETFs in drive to become crypto hub

Hong Kong approved the applications of several spot bitcoin and ether exchange-traded funds on Monday, as the region continues its drive to become a regional crypto hub.

China Asset Management, a major Chinese asset manager, said that its Hong Kong unit has received approval in principle from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission to offer retail asset management services related to spot crypto ETFs. It plans to issue spot bitcoin and ether ETFs in collaboration with OSL and BOCI International. OSL said it will act as the “first virtual asset trading and sub-custodian partner” of China Asset Management for the upcoming ETFs.

Harvest Global Investments’ two spot crypto ETFs have also received in-principle approval from the SFC, the firm said in a statement. It added that the two ETFs will be issued in collaboration with OSL, which could effectively address issues such as excessively high margin requirements. “In this collaboration, OSL leverages its robust infrastructure to provide a secure trading environment essential for the ETF’s operation, managing the underlying assets with precision and reliability,” OSL said in a statement.

Bosera Asset Management, a Hong Kong unit of a major Chinese asset manager, and HashKey Capital also told The Block on Monday that the regulator has given conditional approval for two spot crypto ETFs jointly managed by the pair. The pair did not immediately clarify what “conditional approval” entails.

Bosera and HashKey told The Block that the pair will work together to launch a spot bitcoin ETF, the Bosera HashKey Bitcoin
BTC +2.11%
ETF, and a spot ether ETF, the Bosera HashKey Ether ETF. The two ETFs are expected to allow investors to subscribe for ETF shares using bitcoin and ether directly. They did not disclose the timeline of the launch.

“The introduction of the Virtual Asset Spot ETFs not only provides investors with new asset allocation opportunities but also reinforces Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center and a hub for virtual assets,” Bosera said in a statement.

Unlike its neighboring Chinese mainland’s broader crackdown on cryptocurrency trading and mining, Hong Kong has rolled out the welcome mat for crypto firms last year. In June 2023, Hong Kong officially started its crypto licensing regime for crypto trading platforms, allowing licensed exchanges to offer retail trading services. Hong Kong has granted licenses to two platforms — HashKey and OSL.

Ether ETFs
Adrian Wang, chief executive officer of Asia-based digital asset management firm Metalpha, told The Block that the upcoming spot ether ETFs could gain much traction.

“I think ETF could be more influential and important compared to that of bitcoin, as investors have options to gain bitcoin exposure with bitcoin-related stocks like mining companies, but there are no ETH-related stocks as of now,” said Wang.

“Hong Kong’s approval of the spot Ether ETFs comes ahead of a US decision, and is a significant milestone in Hong Kong’s journey to become a leading crypto hub,” said Angela Ang, a former regulator at the Monetary Authority of Singapore and senior policy advisor at blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs. “With fewer alternatives for Ethereum exposure, we might see the Ether ETFs attract more investor interest.”

Source: theblock.co

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