Jacobi Asset Management, a London-based firm, has marked a significant milestone in the world of cryptocurrency investment. On Tuesday, it launched Europe's first spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) on Euronext Amsterdam. The ETF, named the Jacobi FT Wilshere Bitcoin ETF, has gained regulatory approval from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC). This will likely trade under the ticker "BCOIN".
Unlike traditional ETFs, which generally represent ownership of underlying shares, Jacobi's ETF provides direct exposure to Bitcoin. In this way, it offers investors a means to engage with the market without possessing or directly handling Bitcoins. The launch represents a breakthrough, especially considering the string of rejections faced by spot Bitcoin ETF applications in the US.
Custody for the ETF will be overseen by Fidelity Digital Assets, a division of Fidelity Investments. Flow Traders, a trading firm, will take on the role of market maker for the ETF. This development stands as an important step for the European investment landscape. It will enable investors to access Bitcoin through a regulated financial instrument.
Additionally, Jacobi's ETF presents a focus on environmental and social responsibilities. It integrates a verifiable Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) in partnership with digital asset platform Zumo. This certificate represents the ETF's commitment to sustainability and its intention to counterbalance the environmental impact associated with Bitcoin mining.
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Europe has now introduced a spot Bitcoin ETF ahead of the United States. This is true despite the multitude of applications that have been submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in recent months, all of which faced rejection. Nevertheless, there is a renewed sense of optimism surrounding the potential approval of a spot Bitcoin fund by the regulatory body. This optimism follows the submission of an application by BlackRock, the asset management giant. This move by BlackRock sparked a wave of new applications and modified submissions, characterized by the inclusion of "surveillance-sharing" agreements. These agreements are explicitly designed to safeguard against the manipulation of the market.
However, the decision regarding the Bitcoin ETF applications put forth by ARK Invest and 21Shares has experienced delays. Some experts, including former SEC head John Reed Stark, hold the belief that the current SEC administration is unlikely to grant approval for these applications. Others, like ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood, believe the SEC will approve multiple at once.
Despite the delays, Jacobi's achievement with Europe's first spot Bitcoin ETF will set a precedent for similar investment offerings worldwide. It will also further inspire innovation in the evolving cryptocurrency investment landscape.