SYDNEY (Reuters) - A bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) launched on Australia's main stock market for the first time on Thursday as fund managers debut products to satisfy investors returning to cryptocurrency markets following a boom in prices.

The VanEck Bitcoin ETF launched with around A$990,000 ($660,429) in assets on the Australian Securities Exchange and is the culmination of over three years of negotiations with operator ASX.

The fund will not own bitcoin directly, but invest in the U.S.-listed VanEck Bitcoin Trust, which launched in January. VanEck's European subsidiary also manages 12 similar cryptocurrency funds.

Investors have poured billions of dollars into cryptocurrency ETFs in the U.S. after regulators approved several products in January. Hong Kong followed in April with the launch of six funds, although interest there has been more muted.

VanEck Australia said in March the greenlight from U.S. regulators triggered a jump in requests from brokers and financial advisers for similar products.

The price of bitcoin has almost tripled since 2023, although prices have stalled since a peak in March.

A competitor exchange in Australia run by the local subsidiary of CBOE Global Markets already hosts several bitcoin ETFs.

However, the VanEck Bitcoin ETF is the first fund to launch on the main exchange, where it will share the tickertape with some of the country's most well-known corporations such as BHP and Commonwealth Bank.

($1 = 1.4990 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Lewis Jackson; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

By Lewis Jackson