Bitwise Asset Management is the latest venture to apply for a cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF). Called the Bitwise HOLD 10 Cryptocurrency Index Fund, the ETF will track the returns of the company’s HOLD 10 Index, a “market-cap-weighted index of the 10 largest cryptocurrencies” that captures roughly 80 percent of the total cryptocurrency market capitalization.
A registration statement has been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) but has not yet become effective. Until the SEC decides on whether to approve the ETF, related shares may not be sold, and offers to purchase the shares cannot be accepted by any of the company’s executives.
Bitwise is not the first company to try and register a cryptocurrency ETF application. Earlier this month, waves were made when an application for a Bitcoin ETF from the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust was not rejected as it had been in 2017, and was instead consulted upon with industry professionals. Following this period, the SEC posted the application for public comment to see if general consumers and traders showed interest.
The application received positive feedback, and the SEC later announced that it was working on an outline for newer, less-restrictive legislation regarding open-ended ETFs to increase innovation in the financial space.
John Hyland, the global head of exchange-traded products at Bitwise, stated, “We are aware that other investment firms have filed for cryptocurrency ETFs under the Securities Act of 1933, and that there continues to be interest in filing under the Investment Company Act of 1940. As best we know, all of these funds plan to offer exposure to a single coin such as bitcoin or ether. That is fine, but our proposed offering is obviously different.”
Matt Hougan, global head of research, explained that while Bitwise will offer single-currency opportunities to investors like other funds do, multiple-coin baskets behave very differently and thus warrant just as much study and exposure. He says the company plans to offer both to its clients.
Hyland went on to say, “We know that the current crypto ETF filings have generated a great deal of discussion and analysis within the SEC about this emerging asset class, and the SEC and its staff, to their credit, have asked for public comment on a wide range of issues relating to these products. We expect the staff of the SEC has had ongoing discussions with the investment firms making the crypto filings to date, and we look forward to having our own discussions with the SEC about the nature of our proposed offering.”
Bitwise Asset Management was founded in San Francisco in 2017. It launched the first cryptocurrency index fund in November of that year as a means of providing accredited investors with weekly liquidity through an open-ended private placement system. Thus far, the business has garnered institutional backing from companies like General Catalyst, Blockchain Capital and Khosla Ventures.