VanEck, SolidX offer ETF-like Bitcoin product

Shares in the fund will be available only to institutional buyers

Sep 4, 2019 @ 11:10 am

By Bloomberg News

VanEck Securities Corp. and SolidX Management, a duo that have unsuccessfully petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission for over a year to approve an exchange-traded fund that invests in Bitcoin, have found a workaround for some large investors.

The companies said Tuesday that by using Rule 144A of the Securities Act of 1933, they'll be able to issue shares in the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust to qualified institutional buyers. The shares are the first Bitcoin product for institutions that is cleared and features the same creation-and-redemption process common with traditional ETFs, according to the statement.

VanEck and SolidX said they have not given up on their goal of having a Bitcoin ETF that retail investors can buy, despite numerous setbacks, and see the version of the fund offered today as a vehicle to entice large institutional players to Bitcoin.

The two companies were among the first to request SEC approval for a cryptocurrency ETF — the regulator has rejected some requests citing concerns about market manipulation and has delayed decisions on others, including the VanEck SolidX effort.

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"There continues to be steady demand from institutional investors seeking access to a cleared product that offers the price return of Bitcoin," said Ed Lopez, head of ETF product at VanEck. "We believe this offering solves issues associated with direct Bitcoin investments."

SolidX is the sponsor of the Bitcoin Trust while VanEck will market the fund. BNY Mellon is the daily fund accountant, administrator and transfer agent, which includes facilitating the investor creation and redemption activity. A syndicate of underwriters have provided $125 million of insurance, Mr. Lopez said.

The shares will be quoted on OTC Link ATS, an SEC-regulated alternative trading system, starting Thursday.

"We are in the midst of a sea change for institutions, for the Bitcoin ecosystem and for how market participants define an ETF," said Daniel H. Gallancy, chief executive of New York-based SolidX. "The launch welcomes an entirely new class of investors to the table, promoting the maturation of the Bitcoin market."

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