Crypto startup Bitwise Asset Management has filed for registration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) that it says would address the regulatory concerns that doomed previous attempts.
The proposed Bitwise Bitcoin ETF would track the Bitwise Bitcoin Total Return Index, seeking to capture the full value of an investment in bitcoin, inclusive of meaningful hard forks. The index is produced by Bitwise Index Services, LLC.
If the ETF is approved finally, its shares will be listed on NYSE Arca exchange under a ticker symbol.
Bitwise said in a press release that it expects the NYSE to file a “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 and the ETF to list once the registration statement is declared effective by the SEC.
Bitwise global head of Exchange-Traded Funds John Hyland said that while there is no guarantee if SEC will grant the application, he is optimistic that “2019 should be the year that a bitcoin ETF launches.”
“The SEC has asked thoughtful and relevant questions about the quality of the crypto trading ecosystem, the reliability of crypto pricing, the strength of the arbitrage function in crypto and the robustness of crypto custody,” said Matt Hougan, Global Head of Research, who oversees Bitwise’s indexing efforts.
The crypto trading ecosystem has evolved in significant ways during 2018,” according to Hyland. “Having a regulated bank or trust company hold physical assets of a fund has been the standard under U.S. fund regulation for the last 80 years, and we believe that is now possible with BTC,” he added.
Bitwise launched the first cryptoasset index fund, the Bitwise 10 Private Index Fund, in 2017, and today offers five private funds focused on the crypto space to institutions, family offices, financial advisors and high-net worth individuals in the U.S. and abroad.