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Harvest leads the charge with Hong Kong spot Bitcoin ETF application: Report

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Hong Kong has reportedly received its first application for a spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the city-state.

According to a Jan. 29 Tencent report, Harvest Hong Kong, one of China’s leading fund managers, submitted the first application to the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) on Jan. 26.

This development is arriving just over a month after Hong Kong’s financial regulators—SFC and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA)—revealed their willingness to allow financial institutions to apply for spot ETFs investment products. However, the regulators outlined stringent requirements for the applicants, including strict custodial rules and how the ETF transactions must be conducted through an SFC-licensed crypto platform or authorized financial institutions that comply with HKMA’s regulatory requirements.

Nevertheless, Harvest Hong Kong’s swift application shows the preparedness and interest these products have generated since they were introduced in the U.S. The ETFs would be pivotal in integrating crypto into mainstream finance, and their launch would help capitalize on the region’s burgeoning demand for them.

Expedite approval

Meanwhile, the regulatory authorities in Hong Kong are demonstrating a willingness to expedite the approval process for ETF applications. The ETFs could be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange shortly after the Chinese New Year, scheduled for Feb. 10.

This approach is reminiscent of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which approved multiple ETF applications from several financial institutions, including BlackRock and Fidelity, after rejecting such products for over a decade.

Only Harvest Hong Kong has applied with the regulator despite several financial institutions’ expressions of interest in such products. CryptoSlate reported that as many as ten firms, including HashKey, Venture Smart Financial Holdings, Samsung Asset Management, and CSOP Asset Management, are exploring the feasibility of launching spot Bitcoin ETFs in the Asian city.

Bitcoin ETFs have generated much interest and attention globally thanks to their record-breaking entrance into the U.S. market. Within just ten trading days, the ETFs have significantly altered the market as they have amassed a substantial amount of the top cryptocurrency for their fund.

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