Launched by New York-based WisdomTree – one of largest ETF providers in the U.S. – on Tuesday, the new ETP will compete with a similar, but not physically backed, bitcoin product from Amun AG on SIX.
At press time, the WisdomTree ETP (ticker symbol BTCW) is live on SIX's platform, but showing no volume as of yet. A physically backed product is settled in the underlying asset, not a cash equivalent.
WisdomTree said its Bitcoin ETP gives investors "a simple, secure and cost-efficient way to gain exposure to Bitcoin while utilising the best of traditional financial infrastructure and product structuring."
With the product there is no need to hold the cryptocurrency directly, with the firm saying it employs "institutional grade storage solutions" for the bitcoin underlying the product. As with gold ETPs, investors in the bitcoin product will have an entitlement to the cryptocurrency underlying it.
“We have been monitoring cryptocurrencies for some time and ... have seen enough to believe that digital assets, like Bitcoin, are not a passing trend and can play a role in portfolios," said Alexis Marinof, head of Europe at WisdomTree.
The firm sees "many parallels" between cryptocurrency and commodities, according to Marinof, whose firm has been providing gold-based ETPs in Europe since 2003.
While the product is currently available for professional investors only, WisdomTree said it hopes that a cryptocurrency ETP may soon receive regulatory approval for wider access by retail investors too.
“[W]e see blockchain technology and digital currencies as being transformative for the asset management industry," said WisdomTree CEO Jonathan Steinberg. "Much like how the ETP structure has outshone the mutual fund structure in significant ways, blockchain and cryptocurrencies have the potential to change how investors participate in financial markets, globally.”