A Bitcoin ETF May Become a Reality

ETFtrends.com
July 2, 2013

Bitcoins, the highly encrypted digital currency that rose to prominence earlier this year as investors sought non-dollar assets, could finally get an ETF to call home. On Monday, the Winklevoss twins of Facebook (FB) fame, or notoriety in the eyes of some, filed plans with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust.

The trust’s sponsor is Math-Based Asset Services LLC, which was formed less than two months ago, according to the filing. Math-Based Asset Services believes it will unveil the first-ever bitcoins ETF although the bitcoin system was introduced in 2009. The Bitcoin is a type of decentralized digital currency based on a peer-to-peer network and can be exchanged through computers internationally without a financial intermediary.

Earlier this year when bitcoins were soaring and more traditional currencies were faltering amid ongoing central bank easing, the idea of a bitcoin was floated, but was met with skepticism because the sponsoring bank would have to be willing to back the appreciation or depreciation of the currency. [Is a Bitcoin ETF Next?]

Bitcoin would later be stung by a rising dollar. Over the past six months, USD/BTC has traded as high as 266, but resides below 90 as of this writing, according to bitcoinity.org. 

Among the risks of the trust mentioned in the filing are “If a malicious actor or botnet obtains control in excess of 50 percent of the processing power active on the Bitcoin Network, such actor or botnet could manipulate the source code of the Bitcoin Network or the Blockchain in a manner that adversely affects an investment in the Shares or the ability of the Trust to operate.”

Additionally, the filing acknowledges commercial and retail use of bitcoins is small compared to activity in the retail market, which could contribute to volatility in the currency.

The filing did not include a ticker, expense ratio or possible release date.

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post. Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of Facebook.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.