A closed-end fund that aims to provide investors with exposure to bitcoin in a regulated asset class has listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).
Canadian investment manager 3iQ said The Bitcoin Fund, for which it originally filed a prospectus back in October, began trading on the TSX on Thursday.
The fund works along the same lines as an exchange-traded product (ETP): investors purchase shares in the fund and receive exposure to changes in the underlying assets price over time. It tracks the bitcoin (BTC) price using an index feed co-developed by MV Index Solutions (MVIS), a VanEck Europe subsidiary, and cryptocurrency market data provider CryptoCompare.
The fund is split into two types of shares, Class A, aimed at all types of investors, and Class F for institutions. Only Class A shars are being listed on the Toronto exchange. 3iQ president and CEO Fred Pye told CoinDesk the total value of Class A shares comes to approximately $14 million.
As with other ETPs, the key attraction is investors who either can't or won't buy the underlying asset can still add bitcoin to their portfolios. Traditional investors can also use the fund as a vehicle to become more familiar with the asset class.
Speaking on Thursday's news, MVIS Managing Director Thomas Kettner said listing on a mainstream exchange would "help to strengthen the status of digital assets as an asset class.”
3iQ said it spent more than three years in dialogue with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) before receiving approval for The Bitcoin Fund. Connor Loewen, 3iQ's cryptocurrency analyst, said the fund decided to list in Toronto because it is already regulated in Canada.
TSX is the largest and most active stock exchange in Canada. Although other exchanges have also listed cryptocurrency companies, Toronto has made a cottage industry out of it. Bitcoin mining group Hut8 and crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital are both listed there; so, too, are crypto products such as the Horizon "blockchain ETF," which began trading back in 2018.
As the world continues to reel from the effects of the coronavirus, 3iQ's Pye voiced some apprehension about the timing of the listing. "[It's] tough to launch such a unique offering during a period where investors are worried about their health and protection of capital," he said. "However, long-term protection of purchasing power is what bitcoin is all about," he said.
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