Spot Crypto ETF Applications Will Be Considered, Hong Kong Regulators Say

The statement from the SFC and HKMA comes as expectations mount the U.S. SEC is on the verge of approving a spot bitcoin ETF.

AccessTimeIconDec 22, 2023 at 11:35 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 7:05 p.m. UTC

Hong Kong regulators said they are ready to consider applications for spot crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

In a joint statement, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said the virtual asset environment has changed since 2018, when the SFC formulated a "professional-investors only" regulatory approach.

Hong Kong has been loosening its approach to crypto this year, and the regulators' opinion on retail exposure to digital assets has shifted. In October, the SFC updated its rule book to allow a broader range of investors to engage in spot-crypto and ETF investing. Then, last month, SFC Chief Executive Officer Julia Leung said the regulator was moving toward allowing retail amidinvestors to buy spot crypto ETFs and would "welcome proposals using innovative technology that boosts efficiency and customer experience" provided any risks were addressed.

"The virtual asset landscape has evolved rapidly and begun to expand into mainstream finance," the two regulators said in Friday's statement. The SFC "is prepared to accept applications for the authorisation of other funds with exposure to virtual assets, including virtual asset spot exchange-traded funds (VA spot ETFs)."

The statement comes amount mounting speculation the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is likely to approve a spot bitcoin ETF in the first few weeks of next year.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Sheldon Reback

Sheldon Reback is a CoinDesk news editor based in London. He owns a small amount of ether.