Is Hong Kong Ready to Embrace Spot Crypto ETFs Ahead of the US?

Sahana Kiran
Crypto etf
Source – BDG International

In the realm of crypto, timing is a critical factor. Along with this, the pace at which different regulatory jurisdictions adapt to change can have significant and far-reaching consequences. The United States, a prominent player in the cryptocurrency market, is facing challenges in the approval of spot crypto ETFs. This is with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) taking its time in deliberations. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong appears to be making rapid progress.

Julia Leung, the CEO of SFC, has expressed a receptive stance toward proposals that employ innovative technology to enhance efficiency and improve the customer experience. She has affirmed,

“We welcome proposals using innovative technology that boosts efficiency and customer experience. We’re happy to give it a try as long as new risks are addressed. Our approach is consistent regardless of the asset.”

The regulatory journey in Hong Kong has witnessed shifts and policy updates. In January, the SFC implemented stricter regulations by restricting access to crypto spot ETFs exclusively to professional investors with portfolios of at least 8 million HKD ($1 million). However, in October, SFC revised its rulebook to expand access. It is allowing a broader range of investors to participate in spot-crypto and ETF investments. This is only possible, provided they pass a knowledge test and meet net worth requirements. These are clearly less stringent than those for professional investors.

SFC justified these updates by citing the need to respond to evolving market dynamics and industry demands to expand retail access through intermediaries while ensuring the safe deposit and withdrawal of virtual assets by investors.

Leung emphasized Hong Kong’s commitment to gradually expanding access to a broader investing public as the cryptocurrency ecosystem evolves. This cautious and step-by-step approach is to ensure that investors have the necessary knowledge and safeguards in place.

Also Read: Hong Kong Retail Crypto Investors Largely Uninformed on Regulatory Regime: Report

Where does the U.S. stand in spot crypto ETF approvals?

In contrast, Steven McClurg, the Chief Investment Officer of Valkyrie Investments, is optimistic that the U.S. SEC will approve a spot Bitcoin ETF by the end of November. McClurg’s confidence is rooted in recent amendments to Valkyrie’s spot Bitcoin ETF application. He suggests that the SEC may issue further comments in the coming weeks. This could potentially lead to the approval of 19b-4 rule changes by month-end. He also speculates that the SEC might opt to delay final approval until January, providing applicants with an opportunity to refine their S-1 filings.

The approval of a spot ETF holds great significance for the crypto market, particularly for Bitcoin, as it has the potential to trigger a rally and bolster the bullish momentum in the crypto space. McClurg’s confidence is echoed by prominent figures in the industry, such as Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz.

In conclusion, the race to embrace spot crypto ETFs is gaining momentum, with Hong Kong adopting a progressive stance. As both regulatory jurisdictions navigate their respective landscapes with caution, the world watches eagerly to see which one will be the first to welcome these innovative financial instruments with open arms.

Also Read: ProShares Launches First Short Ether ETF Amid Crypto Volatility