Bitwise Applies for a Physically Held Bitcoin ETF with the SEC

Bitwise, a U.S.-based cryptocurrency index fund provider, has filed an initial registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, proposing a physically held Bitcoin ETF, the SEC announced on their website on January 10, 2019.

Bitwise Files for a new Bitcoin ETF

The crypto industry has entered the year with new hope about the future of cryptocurrencies, as a startup is looking to introduce a new type of Bitcoin ETF.

Bitwise, a San Francisco-based cryptocurrency index fund provider, has applied with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to launch a new Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. According to the registration form published on the SEC website, the proposed ETF will track the Bitwise Bitcoin Total Return Index.

The value of the index will be calculated based on the prices of bitcoin that the Index Provider derives from the cryptocurrency’s price transactions occurring on cryptocurrency exchanges, it said in the application.

Bitwise said that the newly proposed Bitcoin ETF will be unique on the market, as it draws prices from a variety of digital asset exchanges. This will enable the ETF to better represent the market, the company said in a press release.

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What Makes Bitwise’s ETF Different?

With the entire crypto industry still awaiting the approval of a crypto ETF, Bitwise’s claims that their contracts could be among the first to be launched have garnered a lot of media attention. Back in July 2018, the company had filed an application to launch a crypto ETF tracking service that would follow the Bitwise HOLD 10 Private Index Fund, a basket of ten cryptocurrencies.

The SEC has yet to decide on whether to approve Bitwise’s 2018 application, so the company’s plans to launch their new Bitcoin ETF within 2019 should be taken with a grain of salt.

However, the company managed to address some of the biggest issues the SEC has had with the ETFs proposed so far. According to the company’s press release, Bitwise’s ETF would require regulated, third-party custodians to hold its physical bitcoin.

“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 Bitcoin,” John Hyland, Global Head of ETFs at Bitwise said.

Hyland also said that the company was optimistic about their application and that they believe that “2019 should be the year that a bitcoin ETF launches.”

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