New York-based WisdomTree, one of the largest exchange-traded fund (ETF) providers in the United States, today launched a new Bitcoin exchange-traded product (ETP) on Switzerland’s SIX stock exchange.
This is the company’s first product designed to track Bitcoin and give investors an opportunity to invest in the cryptocurrency—all without the need to physically hold the asset in a digital wallet.
Such products, in theory, open up Bitcoin investment to mainstream traders by circumventing the need for individual private keys and reducing the chances of theft and cyberattacks. According to WisdomTree’s announcement, all Bitcoin funds that back the ETP will be held offline in cold storage.
In an interview with Reuters, WisdomTree’s Jason Guthrie—head of the company’s capital markets department—said: “There is a demand for [Bitcoin investment] in an exchange-traded format. There are plenty of clients that either can’t trade futures or find a physically-backed exchange-traded product to be operationally more efficient.”
ETPs differ slightly from from the ETFs that Bitcoin and other crypto aficionados have no doubt become familiar with over the last couple years, given the attention that such proposed products have received. In simple terms, ETFs are a type of ETP, though ETFs are subject to different legal requirements and, therefore, greater regulatory scrutiny.
Both products, however, offer the promise of big-money, institutional investment into the world of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, for which WisdomTree anticipates a strong demand.
“We have been monitoring cryptocurrencies for some time and are excited to bring investors secure access to this developing asset class,” said Alexis Marinof, head of Europe for WisdomTree, in a statement. “We have seen enough to believe that digital assets, like Bitcoin, are not a passing trend and can play a role in portfolios.”
WisdomTree currently manages more than $60 billion in assets globally, according to Reuters.