Asset management giant Fidelity files for Bitcoin ETF

Fidelity submitted paperwork for the Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust on Wednesday. If approved, the Trust would be the first Bitcoin ETF to launch in the United States.

Fidelity Investments, the $4.9 trillion asset manager, has filed paperwork with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, to list a new Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund. 

The Wise Origin Bitocin Trust was filed with the SEC on Wednesday, according to a Form S-1 Registration Statement that appeared on the regulator’s website. The ETF aims to track the digital currency’s daily performance using the Fidelity Bitcoin Index PR, an index that’s derived from several price feeds.

From the prospectus:

“The Trust provides direct exposure to bitcoin, and the Shares of the Trust are valued on a daily basis using the same methodology used to calculate the Index.”

The fund is incorporated in Delaware, with Fidelity Digital Asset Services listed as the custodian.

Fidelity says investors can access the fund through a traditional brokerage account without the “potential barriers to entry or risks involved with holding or transferring bitcoin directly.” Like other proposed Bitcoin ETFs, the Fidelity Trust is intended to provide more institutional pathways to cryptocurrencies.

Speculation about a U.S. Bitcoin ETF has been rampant since the 2017 bull market. So far, lawmakers at the SEC have struck down every proposal to securitize Bitcoin in an ETF over concerns of extreme volatility and price manipulation. Proponents of the flagship cryptocurrency believe the tide could be changing now that Bitcoin has matured as an asset class.

Last week, Goldman Sachs filed for a new ETF that includes the option to add BTC exposure. The Autocallable Contingent Coupon Coupon ETF-Linked Notes “may have exposure to cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin, indirectly through an investment in a grantor trust,” the prospectus read. 

North of the border, Canadian regulators have so far approved two Bitcoin ETFs. The Purpose Bitcoin ETF, which was launched in mid-February, generated $100 million in volume during its first few hours of trading.

Fidelity was among the first major institutions to embrace cryptocurrencies. The firm began mining Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) in 2014, the same year Abigail Johnson became the company’s president and CEO.

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