The Bitcoin industry has got a much-needed booster shot from the introduction of the first publicly traded fund, Bitcoin Investment Trust. The trust, founded by the world renowned Bitcoin enthusiast Barry Silbert, got the approval of floating its shares on the OTC Markets by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) last week. The permanent ticker symbol GBTC will come into effect shortly. The value of the shares will be solely derived from the price of Bitcoin.
Having the backing of the largest securities regulator in US, the fund aims to address the complicated issues of buying, storing, and safeguarding the Bitcoins while the investor profits from his investments. This is a major development which has surely boosted the confidence of investors who have been hit and shaken by successive scams and thefts. Add to it the fact that it is the first prominent step that a US regulatory body has taken to facilitate the Bitcoin culture. The step will open the doors for new investors who, for long, have been staying on the sidelines.
The fund launched in 2013 is not an exchange traded fund (ETF) but instead a private fund which has successfully exploited a loophole, and now the early investors can resell their shares in the market.
The Bitcoin Investment Trust is open only to accredited investors (individuals that have earned income that exceeded $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) in each of the prior two years, or has a net worth over $1 million), and requires a minimum investment of $25,000. The trust will charge 2% as administrative and safekeeping fee.
The BIT is expected to face competition from the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF whose approval is pending with the SEC.
The BIT is sponsored by Grayscale Investments LLC (Grayscale), which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SecondMarket Holdings, Inc. and an affiliate of SecondMarket, Inc.