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FEB 3, 2024

Hong Kong's VSFG eyes spot ether ETF application in Q2

by CoinNess Global

Venture Smart Financial Holdings Ltd. (VSFG), a Hong Kong-based financial services firm, is strategically positioning itself to enter the growing cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF) market, with its latest reveal being an interest in launching a spot ETH ETF in Q2.
In a recent interview with The Block, VSFG Chairman Lawrence Chu revealed the company’s plans to apply for a spot ether ETF in Hong Kong. Executing on that plan is contingent upon the successful launch and approval of its spot bitcoin ETF.

Q1 launch for bitcoin ETF

Last month, the firm disclosed that it is gearing up for a spot bitcoin ETF launch within the first quarter of this year. VSFG was the first to reveal such an intention within the ETF space in Hong Kong. However, competition is already starting to bubble, as subsequently, Chinese asset manager Harvest Fund announced that it has gone one better and actually filed an application for a spot bitcoin ETF product in the Chinese autonomous territory.
Chu shared insights into the firm’s current status, mentioning that VSFG is in the final phase of preparing its application for a spot bitcoin ETF to be submitted to the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. He emphasized the rigorous regulatory discussions that precede such submissions in Hong Kong, characterizing the imminent application as being in the advanced stages, stating, “Submission [for application] is almost like when you’re 95% there.”
Chu acknowledged the importance of ongoing conversations with regulators, expressing readiness by stating, “but that really depends on the conversation we have with the regulator. We will be ready.”

Competitive spotlight on ETF fees

Highlighting the evolving landscape in Hong Kong, Chu noted that nearly 10 fund companies are exploring the launch of potential spot crypto ETFs in the city. That call echoes similar comments made recently by Livio Weng, CEO of digital assets firm HashKey.
The prospect of a potential fee war among asset managers was also discussed, drawing parallels with developments observed in the U.S. bitcoin ETF market. That seems likely, given that downward pressure on spot bitcoin ETF fees in the United States has also spread to Europe where Invesco and WisdomTree have cut fees by 60% on similar products.

Global ether ETPs

While commentators such as Standard Chartered Bank speculate on the likely approval of spot ether ETF products in the U.S. by May and VSFG indicates a potential Q2 launch in Hong Kong, there are already a number of similar products out in the wild around the world.
According to data compiled by crypto data aggregator platform CoinGecko, the top 10 ether funds account for $5.5 billion in value. Among them is the XBT Provider ether exchange-traded product (ETP), the world’s first Ethereum-based security made available on a regulated exchange, namely Nasdaq Stockholm in Sweden, by crypto ETP specialist CoinShares.
While the race is on in Hong Kong to launch crypto ETFs, on an international basis, competition is heating up as various global fintech hubs look to kindle what is likely to make up a significant part of the ETF sector pie in the years to come.
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