In brief

  • A crypto fund has traded $67 million in its first few days of trading.
  • Its creators claim that makes it the most successful start to a crypto fund thus far.
  • But an ETF this ain't; for institutional investors only.

Crypto fund Bitwise Asset Management today announced that traders shifted more than $67 million worth of shares of its new crypto index fund in the first three days of trading. 

The San Francisco-based company debuted the Bitwise 10 Crypto Index fund on Wednesday, December 9. 

It claims that this beat rival Grayscale’s record for the Grayscale Ethereum Trust, which traded a little over $9 million in its first three days last June.

The fund, which trades on over-the-counter trading desk OTCQX Best Market, tracks the price of the ten largest cryptocurrencies. 

It holds $135 million in assets under management, as of yesterday. It is composed of 75% Bitcoin, 13% Ethereum, and 12% scattered around XRP, Litecoin, Chainlink, Tezos and others.

Bitwise’s fund is still smaller than Grayscale’s most similar product, the Digital Large Cap Fund, which contains $161 million worth of Bitcoin, Ethereum, BItcoin Cash and Litecoin.

Funds like these are the closest thing the stock market gets to a crypto ETF—a stock that tracks the price of some underlying asset. These funds represent shares in a pot of private investors’ money that the fund manager uses to buy crypto on exchanges.  

They’re useful for institutional investors who want to delegate crypto investments and custody to someone else, or for retail investors who want to trade crypto from tax-efficient bank accounts. The downside is that these shares often trade at a premium to the underlying assets.

"As more and more financial advisors and investment professionals look to establish an allocation to crypto in their portfolios, a professionally managed index fund is a familiar and important tool,” said Bitwise’s CEO, Hunter Horsley, in a statement.

Bitwise’s request for a Bitcoin ETF was rejected last year by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. That would differ from this recently launched crypto index fund in that a Bitcoin ETF would mimic the price of the cryptocurrency and would change on national securities exchange; it would not just be available to institutional investors.

The SEC rejected Bitwise’s request for the same reason it rejected all of the others: the Bitcoin market is vulnerable to manipulation, said the Commission.

A Bitcoin ETF, then, would pose too much of a risk for investors, according to the SEC. But a crypto index fund that tracks a whole bunch of different digital assets, that’s just peachy, it seems. 

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.