- Jacobi Asset Management lists Europe’s first spot Bitcoin ETF.
- Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF is also an environment-friendly ETF that adheres to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.
- Europe is ahead of the US which is yet to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF due to market manipulation concerns.
Europe listed its first-ever spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund(ETF) after Jacobi Asset Management launched the Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange on August 15.
The asset manager received approval for the spot ETF from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) back in October 2021 and was set to launch the product last year. However, due to the collapse of the Terra ecosystem as well as FTX, Jacobi saw it as an inopportune time to launch the Bitcoin ETF.
As such, crypto investors have been waiting for about 20 months for the company to finally list the ETF. Finally live, the Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF is trading under the ticker BCOIN. According to the company, it will be charging investors a 1.5% annual management fee.
To facilitate the operation of the ETF, the fund’s custody services are being handled by Fidelity Digital Assets, while market making is done by Flow Traders. Other participants with authorization include Jane Street and DRW.
“This fund has been designed to give institutional investors a simple, secure, and transparent access to Bitcoin whilst addressing their sustainability requirements,” Jacobi CEO Martin Bednall said in an interview with Decrypt. “We believe this ETF launch will be the catalyst for institutional adoption of digital assets.”
An Article 8 Fund
Aside from being the first Bitcoin spot ETF, the Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF claims to be the first digital asset fund that complies with Article 8 of the European Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), which is relevant to funds that support environmental and social goals.
As such, the BCOIN ETF is being marketed as an environment and socially-friendly fund, with a renewable energy certificate (REC) having been added to the ETF. The REC solution was integrated in partnership with digital asset platform Zumo and it offers investors the option to trade in Bitcoin while also achieving their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.
The fund purchases and retires the RECs while measuring the energy consumption of the Bitcoin network using external data. The RECs are also recorded on a blockchain service that intends to enable investors to confirm the fund’s eco-friendly credentials.
RECs and offsets should not be mistaken because they are fundamentally different, as the CEO of Jacobi told Decrypt. While offsets can be used for any component of a company’s carbon impact, one offset equals one tonne of CO2e, RECs exclusively relate to power usage, one REC equals 1 MWh of electricity.
BCOIN accesses real-time average Bitcoin price information from specific cryptocurrency exchanges using the FT Wilshire Bitcoin Blended Price Index. Investors can access the Bitcoin market through the spot ETF without directly owning or controlling the underlying asset.
New Hope For The US
The introduction of the spot Bitcoin ETF is a significant development for Europe, as US regulators have not yet approved several proposals for spot Bitcoin ETFs from big asset managers like BlackRock and Fidelity.
Despite an application for the first Bitcoin ETF being filed 10 years ago by Gemini, America has yet to witness the launch of any such ETF. Since then, the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) has been turning down applications citing several concerns including market manipulation.
However, the US crypto market has received new hope as indicated by the influx of Bitcoin ETF applications by several asset managers in recent weeks. Aside from Blackrock, Valkyrie and Invesco have also shown their interest in running a Bitcoin-backed fund.
If the SEC decides to approve these applications, the US could see its first Bitcoin ETF in February next year.