Next Up: Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Would Track BTC, ‘Meaningful Hard Forks’
January 11, 2019 by William Peaster
Crypto advisory, index, and management conglomerate Bitwise has filed another crypto ETF with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Now, they’re seeking to register the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF. The fund is aimed at covering “the full value of an investment in bitcoin, inclusive of meaningful hard forks.”
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Regulated Custodians to Hold BTC for Bitwise Bitcoin ETF
The vast majority of SEC staff may be furloughed amid the ongoing U.S. government shutdown, but the skeleton crew remaining at the Commission just received another registration statement, this time for the possible launch of the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF.
The Bitwise Bitcoin ETF would be based on the Bitwise Bitcoin Total Return Index, which not only tracks bitcoin but also “meaningful hard forks,” as the company puts it.
If actualized, the ETF would be novel insofar as 1) the fund’s underpinning bitcoin would be custodied by regulated third parties, and 2) the fund would be based on bitcoin pricings derived from a wider range of exchanges than previously put forth by other proposed U.S. crypto ETFs.
Per Bitwise, the NYSE Arca exchange will reportedly “file a so-called ‘Rule 19b-4′ request with the SEC in the coming days requesting necessary NYSE rule changes in order to allow its application to be approved.”
With that said, the ball is in the slimmed-down SEC’s court for now.
“While there can be no assurance that the 19b-4 application will be granted or the SEC will review and ultimately accelerate the registration statement, we are optimistic that 2019 should be the year that a bitcoin ETF launches,” Bitwise’s Global Head of ETFs John Hyland said on the news.
When Will the First Crypto ETF Breakthrough Come in the U.S.?
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF is rejected by the SEC on its first run, as the Commission refused to greenlight a single crypto ETF in 2018.
For one, the Winklevoss Twins saw SEC rejections of their Bats BZX ETF in both March and July of last year. Later in the fall, the Commission denied a further batch of nine bitcoin ETFs citing concerns of fraud and manipulation in the space.
Such refusals may be par for the course this year, too, as the cryptoeconomy continues to mature.
But the groundswell of interest over these kinds of crypto funds continues on undeterred, as evidenced by Bitwise and others in the ecosystem continuing to try their hands at filing registration statements.
Even Coinbase is reportedly interested in getting in on the crypto ETF game. So while there’s nothing definite on the horizon for now, there are non-zero chances these funds will eventually crop up in the U.S.
Yet America’s already been beaten to the punch in the arena. London-based company Amun launched a crypto basket ETP on Switzerland’s main stock exchange last year. ETPs are a genre of ETFs.
New reporting this week also suggests that Japan’s Financial Services Agency is considering greenlighting crypto ETFs in the nation. Alas, many U.S. crypto watchers are all eyes on the SEC going forward, and they’re all waiting to see when similar formal approval may materialize here.
What’s your take? Is the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF a good idea, or just another fish in a sea of attempted crypto ETFs? Let us know in the comments section below.
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