European Spot Bitcoin Fund Is First to Get ETF Label

Jacobi’s ‘fund’ follows a slew of other exchange-traded ‘notes’ currently trading.

LucyBrewster310x310
|
Reviewed by: Lisa Barr
,
Edited by: Ron Day

Jacobi Asset Management, the London-based investment firm, launched Europe’s first spot bitcoin product that uses the ETF moniker after securing permission to use the term. 

Spot bitcoin exchange-traded notes, or ETNs, have been trading in Europe since 2018. Jacobi was able to get permission by establishing the fund in self-governing Guernsey, while most European ETFs are domiciled in Ireland or Luxembourg.  

The Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF (BCOIN) began trading Aug. 15 on Euronext Amsterdam. 

BCOIN’s launch comes amid hype surrounding the hoped-for launch of a U.S. spot bitcoin ETF, which would own bitcoin and aren’t currently legal here. So-called bitcoin futures ETFs began trading in the U.S. in 2021, with the approval of the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO).  

While a slew of firms, including BlackRock Inc. and ARK Investment Management, have filed to launch a spot bitcoin ETF, the SEC has not decided whether it will approve the investment vehicle. On Aug. 13, the agency delayed its decision on approving the ARK and 21Shares joint filing.  

While the Guernsey Financial Services Commission approved the spot bitcoin ETF nearly two years ago, in October 2021, Jacobi delayed the launch originally planned for last year amid the “crypto winter” environment in 2022. 

Now, with bitcoin up about 75% this year and investor demand for more digital asset ETFs, the firm is rolling out the fund. 

“It is exciting to see Europe moving ahead of the US in opening up Bitcoin investing for institutional investors,” said Jacobi Asset Management’s CEO Martin Bednall in a statement.  

While this is technically the first European ETF that tracks spot bitcoin, Europe has an array of ETNs that give investors exposure to spot bitcoin, including the Fidelity Physical Bitcoin ETP. While ETNs provide investors with debt security, ETF holders hold shares of the fund. Both ETNs and ETFs fall under the exchange-traded product umbrella. 

The fund is not able to be sold or marketed to U.S. investors, according to Bednall. “Does it make any impact in the U.S.? No,” he said on CoinDesk TV.  

Jacobi is marketing the ETF as a sustainable investment. The firm has partnered with digital asset platform Zumo to implement a Renewable Energy Certificate program, which allows investors to offset carbon emissions of bitcoin.  

 

Contact Lucy Brewster at [email protected] 

Lucy Brewster is a finance reporter at etf.com. Before joining, she was a finance fellow at Fortune covering investing strategy, markets and venture capital. Brewster is a graduate of Vassar College.