Spot Bitcoin and Ether ETFs in Hong Kong- A Restrained Step Forward for Crypto Adoption

The recent approval of spot Bitcoin and Ether ETFs in Hong Kong has generated a wave of excitement in the crypto industry. However, a closer look reveals a different picture, with both likely benefits and limitations to consider.

Hong Kong Opens the Door to Crypto ETFs

On April 15, 2024, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) granted conditional approval for three spot Bitcoin and Ether ETFs. These products, if launched, would allow investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin and Ether through a regulated exchange-traded fund structure. This is a significant step forward for cryptocurrency adoption in Asia, with Hong Kong positioning itself as a hub for regulated crypto investment products.

Key Points about the Approved ETFs

Three asset managers received conditional approval: Harvest Global Investments, a partnership between HashKey Capital and Bosera Asset Management, and China Asset Management. These firms are now eligible to proceed with the listing process, subject to meeting additional requirements set by the SFC.

The ETFs will directly track the price of Bitcoin and Ether by holding the underlying crypto assets. This differs from some US Bitcoin ETFs, which use a cash-settled model where the fund holds traditional assets like US dollars and tracks the price of Bitcoin indirectly.

Investors can subscribe and redeem ETF units directly using Bitcoin and Ether tokens. This in-kind subscription and redemption mechanism differs from the cash redemption model used by most US Bitcoin ETFs. The in-kind model could offer some efficiency benefits for investors.

Likely Benefits of Hong Kong’s Crypto ETFs

The introduction of these ETFs presents several possible benefits for the crypto ecosystem in Asia:

Increased accessibility—ETFs provide a convenient and regulated way for investors in Hong Kong to gain exposure to Bitcoin and Ether. This could attract new participants to the crypto market, particularly those who are interested in a secure and familiar investment vehicle like an ETF.

Enhanced credibility- The approval by the SFC, a well-respected regulatory body, gives legitimacy to cryptocurrencies. This could boost investor confidence in the asset class as a whole, leading to increased investment activity in the region.

Innovation—The world-first spot Ether ETFs could pave the way for similar products in other jurisdictions, leading to a wider range of investment options for crypto enthusiasts globally.

Lessening Expectations- Challenges and Limitations

While the news is positive, it is important to consider some limitations that could dampen initial excitement:

Limited investor pool

Mainland Chinese investors, a significant potential source of demand due to China’s large and tech-savvy population, are officially restricted from accessing these ETFs. Regulations prohibit mainland Chinese investors from trading in offshore markets like Hong Kong.

Smaller Market

Hong Kong’s ETF market is dwarfed by the US market, meaning the total amount of money invested in these ETFs is likely to be lower compared to US Bitcoin ETFs. This could limit the overall impact on the crypto market.


Established US Bitcoin ETFs already hold a dominant position. Investors looking for exposure to Bitcoin might choose these existing products over the newer Hong Kong offerings.

Analyst Predictions

Some analysts, like Eric Balchunas, a senior ETF analyst at Bloomberg, have poured cold water on overly optimistic predictions about the size of the potential investment inflows into these ETFs. Balchunas predicts inflows could be closer to $500 million, compared to some estimates as high as $25 billion. He believes the impact of these ETFs on the broader market might be relatively small compared to the US market.

Final Thoughts

Despite the limitations, Hong Kong’s move to approve spot Bitcoin and Ether ETFs is a significant step forward. It shows a growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies by regulators in Asia. The success of these ETFs will be closely watched and could influence other jurisdictions to explore similar regulatory frameworks for crypto investment products.

Joas Buysse

Joas is a seasoned investor and fintech expert from Bassecourt, Jura, Switzerland. She also works as an administration executive at Stock B. Joas has been working with SB news since 2 years to educate its readers about NFT, Cryptocurrency and Fintech tips.

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