Is China warming up to Bitcoin ETFs? BTC investor’s reply sparks curiosity

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The launch of spot Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) exchange-traded funds in Hong Kong last week has opened new avenues for Asian traders.

While the first week of trading for the Hong Kong-based ETFs was lukewarm compared to its counterpart in the United States, Hong Kong’s proximity to China has made it a key point of discussion on whether these spot ETFs could be accessible to mainland China investors.

Richard Byworth, managing partner at SyzCapital and BTC investor, has ignited rumors with his comments, suggesting that Bitcoin ETFs listed in Hong Kong could soon be accessible to investors from mainland China.

Byworth, in his X response to Samson Mow, said that he heard talks that the spot BTC ETF could be added to Stock Connect.

Stock Connect allows qualified investors from one market to access eligible shares in another market with a set quota. The Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, a cross-border investment route, connects the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Investors in either market can utilize their local brokers and clearing houses to trade shares in the other market. The Stock Connect program covers a wide range of stocks but is subject to a daily quota.

While Byworth words are mere rumors, China’s anti-crypto stance has made it a topic of discussion on social media.

Brian HoonJong Paik, co-founder and chief operating officer at SmashFi, also addressed the rumors about mainland China investors potentially accessing the Hong Kong ETFs in the near future. 

He said that 70% of Chinese wealth is in real estate and that “there are now 100 million empty homes. The CCP needs an alternative asset to mitigate social unrest.”

Related: Hong Kong officials recommend city’s crypto industry self-regulate

In another post, Paik listed several trade arrangements between Shanghai and Hong Kong markets that could allow Chinese investors to invest in spot BTC ETFs in Hong Kong.

Apart from the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor (QDII) scheme allows qualified Chinese institutional investors (such as banks, funds, and insurance companies) to invest in overseas markets, including Hong Kong.

Another trade agreement called mutual recognition of funds (MRF) between Hong Kong and Mainland China, allows eligible mainland and Hong Kong funds to be distributed in each other’s markets.

China banned Bitcoin mining and foreign crypto exchanges from offering their services to mainland customers in 2021. However, despite a blanket ban on crypto-related businesses and services, Chinese courts have deemed BTC legal property in several jurisdictions.

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