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Australia Securities Exchange Approves First Spot Bitcoin ETF

The approval of VanEck's ETF by the country's largest bourse marks a significant shift in Australia's stance on cryptocurrencies.

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Australia has taken a significant step towards wider cryptocurrency adoption by approving its first spot-bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), which is set to launch in June 20, Australian Financial Review reported on Saturday.

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), which handles around 80% of the country's equities trading, gave the green light to VanEck's product, which is set to launch on June 20th. This follows approval for a similar ETFs by Global X and Monochrome Asset Management on rival exchange Cboe Australia.

Spot Bitcoin ETFs track the price of Bitcoin directly, allowing investors to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency without having to buy and hold it themselves. These instruments have been highly sought after by investors, but regulators in many countries have been slow to approve them due to concerns about volatility and underlying asset custody.

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The country has previously been cautious about digital assets, but the increasing popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies appears to be prompting a change in attitude.

The rollout of spot Bitcoin ETFs in Australia follows the US Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) approval of several spot Bitcoin ETFs earlier this year. The move by the SEC was seen as a major validation of Bitcoin as a legitimate asset class.

However, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has warned investors to be cautious about investing in this volatile asset class, echoing similar warnings from regulators in the United States. ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said investors should "understand the risks involved" before investing in any crypto-asset product.

"These products are complex and can be volatile. Investors should carefully consider their own financial situation and investment objectives before investing in these products," Armour said.

Despite the warnings, the approval of the VanEck ETF is seen as a significant step forward for the Australian cryptocurrency industry. It is expected to be the first of many similar products to launch on the ASX in the coming months.