Asia’s first spot bitcoin and ether ETFs debut in Hong Kong

In Asia

Representations of cryptocurrency Bitcoin are placed on a PC motherboard in this illustration taken June 16, 2023. 

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

Hong Kong on Tuesday launched six spot bitcoin and ether exchange traded funds — becoming the first in Asia to offer retail investors the ability to trade the cryptocurrencies at spot prices.

The cryptocurrency ETFs were issued by three Chinese firms — China Asset Management, Bosera Asset Management, and Harvest Global Investments — on the Hong Kong exchange.

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) approved the three ETF providers two weeks ago.

Spot bitcoin ETFs by ChinaAMC, Bosera HashKey and Harvest were above 3% higher in early trading, but subsequently gave up some gains to trade by about 1.5% higher. The three ether ETFs were trading above 1% in the morning, but fell into negative territory by the late afternoon.

Bitcoin was trading at $63,218 at 3:50 a.m. ET, while ether was trading at $3,159, according to Coin Metrics data.

Hong Kong debuts spot crypto ETFs

Hong Kong is one of the first places in the world to approve an ether ETF. In January, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved changes to allow the creation of bitcoin ETFs in the U.S., but has yet to approve an ether ETF.

Crypto ETFs allow investors to gain exposure to the price movement of the underlying assets without having to own the asset directly.

The move is seen as positive for Hong Kong markets.

“There’s a bigger game at play here: The launch of these new ETFs puts Hong Kong one step ahead of Singapore and Dubai who are also trying to establish themselves as regulated hubs for digital assets,” Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of crypto exchange Nexo told CNBC on Tuesday.

“First mover advantage is everything in this game.”

Trenchev said Japan, Singapore, and South Korea could be next to approve similar products in the next two years.

Executives of the Chinese asset managers ushered in the debut of their ETFs at the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Tuesday morning, highlighting that the move will allow institutional and retail investors to enter a regulated market to trade crypto assets and create a diverse product base for the broader exchange.

“The market potential is double the size of that of our U.S. counterparts,” Tongli Han, chief executive officer of Harvest Global Investments told CNBC.

Quick launch, slow demand?

More risks buying spot crypto ETFs with cash than in-kind purchases: HashKey

Read More: Asia’s first spot bitcoin and ether ETFs debut in Hong Kong

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