The Australian Securities And Investments Commission (ASIC) has given early approval to fund managers seeking to launch Bitcoin spot exchange traded funds (ETFs), according to Business Insider.
Many Australian funds have already begun the application process after ASIC green lit the spot ETFs. After months of consulting with experts in the Bitcoin and crypto industry, the corporate regulators issued new guidance for the space, and detailed a draft of regulatory requirements for funds eager to offer Bitcoin spot ETFs.
In a statement on Friday, ASIC wrote, “We recognise the interest in, and demand for, ETPs and other investment products that hold crypto-assets in Australia.” One requirement for fund managers is they will need to appoint a Bitcoin custodial expert who is “required to ensure crypto-assets are held in safe and secure custody”.
Safe and secure custody includes storing Bitcoin private keys in air-gapped cold storage, through wallets which are subject to “robust physical security practices.” Redundant backups of seed phrases stored in geographically separate locations are also required, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Funds must also front a minimum of $10 million in net tangible assets to launch a Bitcoin ETF, along with adhering to other pricing and risk management obligations.
ASIC commented on why Bitcoin is one of just two newly approved assets, “We proposed this because we recognize that crypto-assets vary greatly in their features, characteristics, risks and how they operate, and we consider that only some may be appropriate to be held by a registered managed investment scheme.”
This comes just one week after Valkyrie and ProShares launched the first Bitcoin futures ETFs in the United States. Many in the U.S. are eagerly awaiting the approval of a Bitcoin spot-based ETF, which is considered to be a safer investment vehicle that can more closely track the price of Bitcoin. In any case, Australia's coming spot ETFs are a step in the right direction in terms of educating traditional investors about Bitcoin and spreading adoption.