Hong Kong SFC Receives First Spot Bitcoin ETF Application Following U.S. Approval

The  Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has reportedly received its inaugural spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) application. This comes just weeks after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) greenlit the first spot BTC ETF in the United States.

Harvest Hong Kong, a major Chinese fund manager, submitted its application on Jan. 26. The Hong Kong SFC is actively expediting the approval process for ETFs, aiming to launch the first Hong Kong spot Bitcoin ETF shortly after the Chinese New Year on Feb. 10.

Multiple Spot BTC ETFs Expected in Hong Kong

The regulatory body may adopt a strategy similar to the U.S. SEC by approving multiple spot ETFs to ensure fair competition. While Harvest Fund is the first to file for a spot BTC ETF, it is anticipated that other financial institutions will follow suit. Approximately 10 financial institutions in Hong Kong are actively pursuing the launch of a spot BTC ETF, with giants like Venture Smart Financial Holdings targeting the first quarter of 2024 for their debut.

Various regional financial institutions have signaled their intent to launch spot BTC ETFs in 2024. Even established crypto companies, which previously introduced futures-based crypto ETFs in Hong Kong, are expected to participate. Samsung Asset Management, known for launching the Samsung Bitcoin Futures ETF in 2023, expressed openness to exploring a spot ETF.

Hong Kong’s Crypto-Friendly Environment

Hong Kong has emerged as a leading crypto destination in Asia, thanks to its regulatory stance in 2023. The SFC established crypto-focused regulations, allowing both institutional and retail investors to engage in crypto activities. Even before the U.S. SEC’s approval of the first spot BTC ETF, the Hong Kong SFC paved the way for crypto-based ETFs, expressing readiness to authorize various funds, including digital asset spot ETFs and existing crypto futures ETFs.