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Hong Kong Prepares for Spot Bitcoin ETFs Following U.S. Approval

Following the U.S. SEC's approval of the first spot Bitcoin ETF, Hong Kong is poised to receive its first application for a spot BTC ETF, with multiple financial institutions planning entries into this market.

After the recent approval of the first spot Bitcoin ETF by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Hong Kong is poised to follow suit, with several financial institutions in the region planning to apply for spot BTC ETFs.

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

Harvest Fund, one of China's largest fund managers, submitted its spot Bitcoin ETF application to the Hong Kong SFC on January 26, as reported by Tencent News. The report indicates that the regulatory body is actively expediting the approval process for ETFs in the region, with the aim of launching the first Hong Kong spot Bitcoin ETF shortly after the Chinese New Year on February 10.

Similar to the approach taken by the U.S. SEC, the Hong Kong regulatory authority may consider approving multiple spot ETFs to ensure a competitive landscape. While Harvest Fund might be the first applicant to file for a spot BTC ETF, other regional financial institutions have expressed their intent to launch spot Bitcoin ETFs in 2024.

At least ten financial institutions in Hong Kong are reportedly actively working on spot BTC ETF launches, including major players like Venture Smart Financial Holdings, which has set its sights on the first quarter of 2024 for the spot ETF launch.

Additionally, several existing crypto companies that have introduced futures-based crypto ETFs in Hong Kong are expected to join the ranks of spot Bitcoin ETF applicants. Samsung Asset Management, which launched the Samsung Bitcoin Futures ETF in 2023, has not ruled out the possibility of exploring a spot ETF.

Hong Kong has emerged as a prominent crypto hub in Asia due to its regulator's favorable stance on cryptocurrencies in 2023. The SFC introduced crypto-specific 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 paved the way for crypto-based ETFs and expressed its readiness to accept applications for various funds, including digital asset spot ETFs and existing crypto futures ETFs.