Retail Investors in Hong Kong May Soon Gain Access to Crypto ETFs

Hong Kong is considering the possibility of allowing retail access to spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that directly invest in cryptocurrencies. Julia Leung, the chief executive officer of the Securities and Futures Commission, expressed a willingness to explore such retail investment products. This move follows the SFC’s recent update to its guidance on virtual asset-related activities for intermediaries, which expanded the range of investors eligible to engage with crypto ETFs. Currently, Hong Kong has three futures-based crypto ETFs listed on its market.

Hong Kong has been making strides in regulating the virtual asset industry. Last June, the Special Administrative Region of China introduced a dedicated regulatory framework for virtual assets, with a strong focus on investor protection and the attraction of cryptocurrency companies through licensing provisions.

Despite these efforts, Hong Kong recently grappled with its largest financial fraud case, involving JPEX, a crypto exchange accused of defrauding approximately 2,600 local investors of HK$1.6 billion ($204 million). 

In the United States, crypto ETFs have gained popularity, particularly in the form of spot crypto ETFs. Hong Kong currently has three futures-based crypto ETFs, including CSOP Bitcoin Futures and CSOP Ether Futures ETFs, aiming to provide more diverse investment products for its investors. Licensed exchanges like HashKey Exchange play a crucial role in facilitating crypto trading and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards

Impact of the decision

The decision to potentially allow retail access to spot crypto ETFs in Hong Kong represents a significant step in the evolution of the region’s ETF market. It opens up new opportunities for retail investors to diversify their portfolios with virtual assets, aligning Hong Kong more closely with the thriving cryptocurrency investment landscape in the United States. By introducing more crypto-related investment products like spot crypto ETFs and enhancing accessibility, Hong Kong aims to attract a broader range of investors and increase its standing as a global financial hub.

As retail investors and intermediaries gain access to cryptocurrency ETFs, this step could contribute to the maturation and credibility of the virtual asset market in Hong Kong, potentially making it a more attractive destination for both domestic and international investors interested in crypto assets.

Investors can access information about specific Hong Kong ETFs, including their issuer, underlying assets, expense ratios, and performance, through financial news sources, brokerage platforms, and the official websites of the respective ETF providers. It’s important to do thorough research and consult with financial professionals before investing in ETFs to make informed decisions based on your investment goals and risk tolerance.


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