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Crypto ETFs Make Splash in Hong Kong Debut as They Bust Elsewhere

2 mins
Updated by Ryan Boltman
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In Brief

  • Exchange-traded funds that track US-based cryptocurrency futures are listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
  • Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) recently issued a warning against investing with unregulated platforms.
  • Meanwhile, other crypto ETFs around the world are either delisting or have depreciated considerably.
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A pair of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tracking US-listed crypto futures collectively raised $73.6 million leading up to their Hong Kong debut.

The larger between them, CSOP Bitcoin Futures ETF, received $53.9 million, topping ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, with $20 million. Each intends to debut on the Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing at HK$780 this coming Friday.

Hong Kong permits crypto ETFs

CSOP Asset Management manages both ETFs, which invest in bitcoin and ether futures listed on the CME exchange. These US-based cryptocurrency assets are currently the only ones permitted by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). 

Because the crypto derivatives trade on regulated exchanges, they offer more safeguards for investors, the head of quantitative investment at CSOP said. Yi Wang added that the ETF listings “demonstrate that Hong Kong remains open-minded on the development of virtual assets.”

Decline in crypto products

Wang’s emphasis on open-mindedness comes as the SFC recently issued a warning to consumers about virtual asset platforms. In light of the FTX collapse, the SFC warned that investors could potentially lose any capital invested with unregulated platforms. Before the incident, it had offered to start a consultation on allowing crypto ETF access to retail investors.

Yet, Hong Kong’s acceptance of these crypto products stands in contrast with their fate in other places. Amid the recent decline in digital asset prices, three crypto ETFs introduced in Australia earlier this year have been delisted

Australia had actually just introduced its first crypto ETFs on the Cboe Global Markets local exchange earlier this year. However, it read the writing on the wall when Hong Kong announced a pathway for Bitcoin and Ether ETFs.

Meanwhile, the first U.S. bitcoin futures ETF that debuted on the NYSE in October 2021 has fared rather poorly since then. Upon its launch in October last year, (BITO) quickly drew over $1 billion in subscriptions. One year later, the price of the product dropped 70% from its peak, according to Morningstar Direct data.

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Nicholas Pongratz
Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.
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