JAN 12, 2024
Animoca Brands Co-Founder: U.S. ETF approval positive for Asia
The long-awaited approval of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the U.S. on Tuesday is anticipated to have a more substantial impact on the development of cryptocurrencies in Asia.
That’s the view of Yat Siu, the co-founder of Animoca Brands, a Hong Kong-based crypto venture capital and game software firm. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) approval is expected to attract new capital to the crypto industry, providing a safer avenue for the crypto-curious.
Potential for surge of interest in Asia
In an interview with The Block, Siu emphasized the positive effect on Asia, attributing it to the region's regulatory clarity and the willingness of governments and regulators to build a crypto ecosystem. Strengthening regulatory oversight was a finding of a recent report relative to a number of Asian hubs. Industry leaders believe that the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. could lead to a surge of interest in Asia, where crypto adoption is already higher than in other continents.
The perception of cryptocurrencies as investment assets, rather than just for transactions, might shift in the Asian market, with the ETF offering a regulated and lower-risk avenue for investment exposure. Additionally, Yat Siu noted that Asian investors, particularly the younger generation, have a more open view towards capitalism compared to their U.S. counterparts.
In a recent interview with CNBC, Australian venture capitalist and founder of MHC Digital Group, Mark Carnegie, also expressed the opinion that the digital asset markets in Asia would flourish once the hype of the U.S. ETF approval has subsided.
ETF focus on Singapore and Hong Kong
Post the U.S. approval, attention turns to Asia, with Hong Kong and Singapore emerging as potential candidates for introducing spot crypto ETFs. Hong Kong, in particular, has undergone regulatory renewal, positioning itself as a crypto hub, with it reportedly already attracting interest from fund managers, including those backed by Chinese capital, looking into launching spot crypto ETFs.
Yat Siu alongside Glenn Woo, Head of Sales of APAC at Web3 infrastructure company Blockdaemon, were both positive in their assessment of Hong Kong as a worthy location for the offering of spot bitcoin ETFs in comments made last month. In November, the CEO of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) indicated an openness to considering proposals for spot crypto ETF products aimed at retail investors.
Singapore, known for its mature regulatory environment, is also considered a strong contender. Meanwhile, Japan may witness significant regulatory movement following the U.S. ETF approval.
However, challenges and variables remain for Asia. The scale of capital inflows in Asia, compared to the U.S., and the caution of regulators in the face of crypto industry volatility and trust issues are cited as potential hurdles. Some experts suggest that Hong Kong and Singapore may initially be cautious in encouraging retail participation in virtual asset investments due to previous losses experienced by residents. Still, in the medium to longer term, increased interest and appetite for virtual assets are expected.