Korea’s FSC bars local brokers from offering spot Bitcoin ETFs overseas

South Korea’s financial regulator has declared that domestic securities firms are barred from offering spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in international markets.

South Korea‘s Financial Services Commission (FSC) said in a press release on Jan. 12 that domestic securities firms cannot offer spot Bitcoin ETFs overseas, as it may violate the existing government stance on virtual assets. Despite the ban, the FSC acknowledged the possibility of reviewing its stance on crypto regulation, without providing specific details.

As per Korean news outlets, the local securities forms, including Mirae Asset Securities and Samsung Securities, suspended transactions for clients from Canada and Germany related to spot Bitcoin ETFs following restrictions. Mirae Asset Securities, for instance, suspended trading of its Purpose Bitcoin ETF, which was listed on the Canadian stock exchange back in February 2021, and had been trading without restrictions until the recent changes.

As earlier reported, the FSC official highlighted there has been no review to alter the government’s policy on virtual asset investment by financial institutions, even though the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) gave the green light to spot Bitcoin ETFs. South Korea cemented its position on cryptocurrencies on Dec. 13, 2017, when the government introduced emergency measures, prohibiting financial institutions from holding, purchasing, using as collateral, or investing in cryptocurrencies.

On Jan. 10, the SEC approved multiple spot Bitcoin ETFs for listing on all registered national exchanges in the U.S., including Nasdaq, NYSE, and CBOE, following a decade-long pursuit of these products. Shortly after the SEC approved the ETFs, SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a statement that despite the green light, the agency “did not approve or endorse Bitcoin,” adding that investors “should remain cautious about the myriad risks associated with Bitcoin and products whose value is tied to crypto.”

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