Bitcoin ETFs (Exchange-Traded Fund) remain under the spotlight with the focus now on Asia. The recent Bitcoin ETFs approval by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has created a wave of optimism among analysts, who believe that this landmark decision could set the stage for similar regulatory breakthroughs in the cryptocurrency market across Asia. While challenges may persist in crafting ideal policies, the U.S. has surged ahead, leaving Asia and Africa in the pursuit of a clear regulatory framework for crypto.
In the race to establish themselves as crypto hubs, countries in and around Asia, such as the UAE, Singapore, and Hong Kong, have been actively formulating policies to attract retailers and financial institutions to the burgeoning crypto space. Analysts express higher expectations for a Bitcoin ETF in Asia compared to Africa, given the region’s keen interest in becoming a global crypto player.
Among the contenders, Australia emerges as a frontrunner, with experts predicting that the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) could approve spot Bitcoin ETF products as early as the first or second quarter of 2024. Industry insiders reveal that Australia’s Monochrome Bitcoin ETF, which applied in July 2023, holds a promising position, building on the groundwork laid by existing exchange-traded products.
Australia, having already embraced spot crypto assets through two exchange-traded products on Cboe Australia, anticipates a surge in excitement with the potential introduction of a similar product on ASX. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) plays a pivotal role in granting licences, while ASX, under ASIC, remains focused on adherence to operating rules and procedures. The market awaits the approval of Monochrome’s Bitcoin ETF, which is expected to be quoted in the second quarter of the year.
While Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UAE aspire to position themselves as global crypto hubs, none have yet secured regulatory approval for Bitcoin ETFs within their jurisdictions. Hong Kong, in particular, has expressed a strong interest in pursuing spot crypto ETFs, with industry experts predicting it to be the next in line after the U.S. approvals.
Johnny Ng, a Hong Kong lawmaker, emphasises the need for Hong Kong to assert itself as a leader in the virtual asset field, advocating for the swift implementation of spot ETFs. The city’s new licensing regime and a commitment to considering applications for spot crypto ETFs position Hong Kong as a potential frontrunner in the race for regulatory approval.
Singapore, known for its balanced regulatory approach, may benefit from the U.S. approvals, leading to increased momentum for Bitcoin ETFs. Analysts suggest that Singapore, with an eye on liquidity from the U.S. market, may now be more inclined to embrace products like Bitcoin ETFs, aligning with its technology-friendly stance.
In contrast, the UAE, while expressing interest in becoming a crypto hub, faces challenges in the immediate adoption of Bitcoin ETFs. Connectivity issues with traditional finance players and the high cost of establishing links hinder the UAE’s readiness to launch spot Bitcoin ETFs. The region, while not ruling out future possibilities, currently lacks the necessary conditions to attract widespread adoption.
The green light for spot Bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. has therefore triggered a domino effect, propelling Australia to the forefront, while other Asian regions stand ready to join the momentum. As regulatory frameworks undergo transformation, the crypto hubs in Asia are actively competing for a prominent role in shaping the future of decentralized finance.
Stay informed with our Bi-Weekly Pulse for the latest crypto and blockchain news.
Get access to the week’s most interesting reads, stats and find out about the most recent trends in the cryptocurrency market.