Crypto Headlines of the Week: Bitcoin ETFs in Asia, Crypto Seizures

The much-awaited approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is expected to give unprecedented momentum for similar regulatory approvals in and around Asia.

For one, the Hong Kong arm of Harvest Fund Management, a major Chinese asset manager, has applied to a spot Bitcoin ETF.

Meanwhile, there has been a series of crypto seizures over the past week.

German police seized $2.17 billion worth of Bitcoin, while the UK police has disclosed its seizure of £1.4 billion ($1.78 billion) of the cryptocurrency. 

Let’s dig into the major crypto stories of the week. 

Key Takeaways

  • Bitcoin whales ‘in accumulation phase’
  • Analyst predicts Bitcoin to hit $170K post-halving
  • German police seize $2.1 billion worth of Bitcoin
  • UK police seize nearly $1.8 billion Bitcoin
  • FTX ‘to fully repay customers’

Major Chinese Company Applies for Bitcoin ETF in Hong Kong

Harvest Global Investments, a major asset-management company in China, has applied for a spot Bitcoin ETF with Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). Venture Smart Financial Holdings, a Hong Kong firm, has also said it will file a spot Bitcoin ETF application.

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Harvest Fund files spot bitcoin ETF application in Hong Kong (The Block)

Invesco, Galaxy Further Cut Bitcoin ETF Fee

Invesco and Galaxy Asset Management have further cut their spot Bitcoin ETFs fee amid a crowded field. The two firms announced Monday that the Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (ticker BTCO) will charge an eventual expense ratio of 0.25%, down from 0.39% previously.

Even with the recent fee cut, BTCO still isn’t the cheapest spot Bitcoin ETF on the market. Franklin Templeton’s fund has a post-waiver 0.19% expense ratio, the lowest among spot Bitcoin ETFs.

Invesco, Galaxy Cut Spot Bitcoin ETF Fee in Cutthroat Market (Bloomberg)

Global X Pulls Out Bitcoin ETF Application

ETF provider Global X has withdrawn its application for spot Bitcoin ETF. While the company sought approval for its Global X Bitcoin Trust back in 2021, it wasn’t among the 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs that began trading on January 11.

Global X Pulls Spot Bitcoin ETF Application (ETF.com)

Bitcoin Whales in Accumulation Phase

Crypto whales, or large investors, have accumulated $3 billion worth of Bitcoin in January alone. In other words, the amount of Bitcoin held in whale wallets has increased by approximately 76,000 BTC, bringing the total holdings of these whales to nearly 7.8 million BTC.

Crypto Whales Accumulate $3 Billion in Bitcoin in January, Data Shows (Cryptonews.com)

This Analyst Expects Bitcoin to Hit $170K Post-Halving

Skybridge Capital founder and managing partner Anthony Scaramucci sees Bitcoin soaring to at least $170,000 after the halving in April when the number of new Bitcoins entering circulation shrinks again.

“Go back and look at Bitcoin halving cycles,” Scaramucci said on the Scott Melker podcast. “The day that Bitcoin halves, multiply it by four [and] 18 months later, and it’s been uncanny that that’s been the price of Bitcoin.”

German Police Seize $2.1 Billion Worth of Bitcoin

Police in Germany have provisionally seized 50,000 Bitcoin worth $2.17 billion, calling the action its largest cryptocurrency seizure ever. The stash is related to the operation of a piracy website in 2013 that violated the Copyright Act.

Germany: Police seize Bitcoins worth €2 billion (DW)

UK Police Seize Nearly $1.8 Billion Bitcoin

The UK police have seized $1.4 billion ($1.78 billion) worth of Bitcoin from an investment fraud operation in China. A London court heard of the seizure as part of the ongoing trial of Jian Wen, who is accused of laundering Bitcoin on behalf of her former employer, Yadi Zhang, whose real name is Zhimin Qian.

UK police seized £1.4bn of Bitcoin from China investment fraud, court told (Financial Times)

SEC Asks to Dismiss Case Against Debt Box

The SEC is seeking closure on a lawsuit against crypto firm Debt Box that’s put the regulatory agency in the unusual position of facing sanctions from a federal judge. 

In a court filing, SEC attorneys asked Judge Robert Shelby of the Northern Division District Court of Utah to dismiss the agency’s lawsuit without prejudice, meaning the case could be retried, in order to avoid any potential disciplinary actions.

SEC asks to dismiss contested crypto case in which agency faces sanctions over ‘materially false’ statements (Fortune)

OpenSea Open for Acquisition

OpenSea is reportedly considering acquisition proposals. In a recent interview, OpenSea Chief Executive Officer Devin Finzer said the firm has not ruled out the possibility of selling the company and indicated a willingness to engage with interested parties.

“We think that if the right partnership comes along, then that’s something we should certainly consider,” Finzer reportedly told DL News.

OpenSea chief says NFT platform is ‘open-minded’ towards acquisitions — including its own (DL News)

FTX to Fully Repay Customers, Won’t Restart Platform

FTX, the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange that was run by Sam Bankman-Fried, said it expects to fully repay its customers. The defunct exchange has shifted its focus to making its former clients whole as it abandons its plans to relaunch its platform due to a lack of buyers, according to the court proceedings.

FTX Expects to Fully Repay Customers but Won’t Restart Defunct Crypto Exchange (CoinDesk)

FTX Hack Mystery Resolved

The FTX hack mystery may yet be resolved as the US federal government charged three people with a yearslong phone hacking conspiracy that culminated in the infamous theft of $400 million from the crypto exchange when it was collapsing.

The Mystery of the $400 Million FTX Heist May Have Been Solved (Wired)

The Bottom Line

The approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs by the US SEC is predicted to generate significant momentum for similar regulatory approvals in Asia.

Additionally, there have been notable crypto seizures recently, with German police confiscating $2.17 billion worth of Bitcoin and UK police revealing their seizure of around $1.8 billion.

Join us again next week for more crypto headlines!

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Ruholamin Haqshanas

Ruholamin Haqshanas is a cryptocurrency and financial journalist with over three years of experience in the field. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechatronics and has a strong interest in FinTech. He started as a freelance technology writer, but moved into cryptocurrency as he delved deeper into the industry in 2019. Ruholamin has been featured in several financial and crypto news outlets, including Cryptonews, Investing.com, 24/7 Wall St, The Tokenist, Business2Community, ZyCrypto, EthereumPrice.org, Milk Road to name a few. Ruholamin has also worked on major crypto and DeFi projects as a content producer, including Midas Investments, BullPerks/GamesPad and Equalizer Finance.