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New York-based, exchange-traded fund (ETF) provider WisdomTree Investments plans to release a “regulated stablecoin,” according to an interview CEO and founder Jonathan Steinberg provided Financial News.
Without giving away any specific details, Steinberg said WisdomTree is in talks with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the plan. He said he hopes to receive a speedy approval from the SEC in order for his firm to stay ahead of its competitors and become one of the first in the financial sector to offer such a product.
“You want to be early,” Steinberg said. “We came to ETFs 13 years after State Street. This gives us an opportunity to be ahead of the State Streets and Fidelitys on regulated stablecoins.”
State Street is a custodial bank that joined hands with the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange in New York to launch a new digital asset pilot program last December. The deal allows Gemini to house digital assets for various institutions. State Street would provide regular holding data regarding these assets. Fidelity Investments, meanwhile, released its new crypto custody platform in early 2019, according to CNBC.
According to WisdomTree’s director of corporate strategy, William Peck, the firm plans to offer its clients ways to invest in gold and other traditional assets through blockchain, making them easier to trade and giving WisdomTree a “Facebook-like role for financial institutions.”
Facebook, incidentally, is itself getting into the stablecoin game through Libra, which the social media giant announced last summer to equal parts fanfare and criticism. The project, still expected to launch sometime in 2020, has already resulted in numerous congressional hearings, including testimony from Facebook’s head honcho Mark Zuckerberg and the company’s lead on all things blockchain, David Marcus.
During his testimony before Congress, Zuckerberg went as far as to say that Facebook would abandon the Libra Association if the project did not receive full approval from US regulators.
WisdomTree, on the other hand, appears to be having no trouble courting regulators across the globe. Just last month, the company announced the launch of a new Bitcoin exchange-traded product (ETP) on Switzerland’s SIX stock exchange. The Bitcoin ETP gives customers a way to invest in bitcoin without holding it in their digital wallets. This, the company said, meant that all BTC holdings would be kept offline in cold storage, thereby eliminating the need for private keys and reducing the risks of theft and hacks.