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Australian Securities Exchange Gives Its First Approval of a Spot Bitcoin Listing to VanEck

  • The Australian Securities Exchange has approved the listing of its first spot-bitcoin ETF.

  • The fund primarily acts as a 'feeder fund' employing a passive management strategy, the product disclosure statement said.

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), which accounts for 90% of Australia’s equity market, has approved its first spot-bitcoin {BTC} exchange-traded fund (ETF), according to a blog from the issuer VanEck.

"The fund primarily acts as a 'feeder fund' employing a passive management strategy, the product disclosure statement said. The fund will provide investors exposure to bitcoin by investing in the VanEck Bitcoin Trust ('HODL') which is a United States ETF listed on the Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc (Cboe).

Earlier this month, Australia-based Monochrome Asset Management’s Monochrome bitcoin (BTC) ETF (IBTC) won approval from Cboe Australia exchange, the smaller rival of ASX. The company said that the product was the first and only ETF that holds bitcoin directly in Australia.

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“A Bitcoin ETF being available on major Australian stock exchanges is a great movement forward for the crypto-space," said Blockchain Australia Chair and Digital Assets Lawyer Michael Bacina. "It’s important to note the key differences between the products, as only one of the ETFs has direct Bitcoin holdings and can offer holders a redemption in Bitcoin.”

The blog said VanEck is "launching the first bitcoin ETF on the ASX on 20 June" and that it would be the "lowest cost bitcoin ETF in Australia." VanEck resubmitted an application for the product in February.

Reports in April said DigitalX Ltd. applied for approval to ASX in February, and Sydney-based BetaShares said it was working toward launching a product on the ASX. Bloomberg had earlier reported that the first batch of spot bitcoin ETFs could be approved by ASX before the end of 2024, making this an earlier-than-expected development.

Unlike in the U.S., in Australia, firms require the approval of the regulator, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), and then the exchange listing the product. In May, ASIC told CoinDesk via an email that DigitalX Ltd., VanEck and BetaShares either had "the relevant licence themselves or are working with another firm that has the requisite licence."

"Despite hurdles to clear in Australia, including regulatory and exchange framework challenges, along with ASIC approval, VanEck intends to lead the way in bringing the first Bitcoin ETF to ASX investors," the blog said.

After the U.S. approved spot bitcoin ETFs in January, expectations have been high for nations in APAC to approve such products as they continue their efforts to be seen as major crypto hubs.

VanEck also said that, given that it was one of the approved spot bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. and had similar products in Europe, it plans to leverage its global expertise and infrastructure to offer Australian investors a best-in-class cryptocurrency solution.

Read More: Australia's First Spot Bitcoin ETF With Direct BTC Holdings to Go Live on Tuesday

UPDATE (June 18, 05:28 UTC): Updates to reflect VanEck's product is a feeder fund and adds comment of Michael Bacina.