Bitcoin ETF approvals may have a bigger impact on Asia, says Animoca cofounder Yat Siu

January 15, 2024

By Sharan Kaur Phillora

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) recent approval of spot bitcoin ETFs is poised to significantly impact cryptocurrency development in Asia, according to Yat Siu, co-founder of Hong Kong-based crypto venture capital firm Animoca Brands. In an interview with The Block, Siu highlighted that this landmark decision is expected to inject new capital into the industry as ETFs provide a safer and more secure investment vehicle for crypto enthusiasts.

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Siu emphasized the unique position of Asia in the global crypto landscape, noting that “the way crypto regulation has been moving forward in Asia signifies that the U.S. ETF approval will positively impact the region more than others.” He added, “There’s regulatory clarity and a willingness from governments and regulators to build this ecosystem and see the opportunities out there.”

Despite SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s historically cautious stance on crypto, the approval signals a major shift in the U.S. regulatory approach. Siu observed that Asian investors, particularly the younger generation, are generally more open to capitalism than their U.S. counterparts. “The American dream is more alive and well in Asia than it is in America,” Siu stated.

Brian Hoonjong Baik of SmashFi also echoed the sentiment of significant impact on Asia. “Asian investors have always been more adventurous,” he said, suggesting that an ETF is a perfect blend of crypto and regulation, easing institutional investor concerns.

The Asian market, with its high crypto adoption rates, is now anticipating similar developments. Hong Kong, after its regulatory overhaul, is seen as a prime candidate for introducing a spot crypto ETF. “Hong Kong regulators have sent a clear message about considering spot crypto ETFs,” said Angela Ang, a former Monetary Authority of Singapore regulator.

However, challenges remain in Asia’s pursuit of launching its spot crypto ETFs. These include the employment of capital inflows and navigating the region’s cautious stance towards retail participation in virtual assets. Patricia Ho of Scroll pointed out the need for more enforcement and regulation in Hong Kong, which may initially dampen investors’ appetite but will likely pick up interest in the long term.

The U.S. ETF approval could catalyze significant regulatory movements across Asia, potentially leading to a more integrated and mature cryptocurrency market.

About the author

Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.

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