If you’re in Canada and are interested in Bitcoin, I have news for you: a cryptocurrency startup based in Toronto, the de-facto birthplace of Ethereum, has just been given the approval to launch a publicly-tradable Bitcoin fund available for the Canadian public.
Right now it isn’t clear if there will be demand for the Bitcoin fund — there is, however, a lack of fully-functioning Bitcoin on and off-ramps in Canada in this writer’s opinion — yet this news has already been celebrated as a “landmark” event for Canada, and even all of North America.
Indeed, over the past few years, countless cryptocurrency firms with Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications have been denied by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who claims that the underlying Bitcoin market isn’t secure, liquid, or non-volatile enough to have its own fund. Canada’s SEC counterpart doesn’t seem to think that this is the case, however.
3iQ Launches “The Bitcoin Fund”
On October 30th, 3iQ Corporation, an investment fund manager focused on crypto assets and disruptive technologies, revealed that it had been given a regulatory stamp of approval from the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) for the so-called “The Bitcoin Fund.”
The “closed-end” fund will be available to be traded on a major Canadian stock exchange by retail investors by the end of 2019, according to The Province. The fund will purportedly be available to be bought and sold via traditional and discount brokers.
It has also been said that shares of The Bitcoin Fund will be eligible to be a part of Canadian registered retirement savings plans and tax-free savings accounts.
Per a press release outlining the matter, this comes after three years of “active work with the OSC’s Investment Funds and Structured Products Branch to create an investment fund that we hope will allow retail investors the benefits of investing in bitcoin through a regulated, listed fund.” Fred Pye, the CEO of the firm, added that this has allowed his company to properly address the “questions of pricing, custody, audit, and public interest issues in a regulated investment fund.”
Gemini, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’ cryptocurrency exchange, will be providing for the Bitcoin that will be a part of this fund.
Canada Warming to Crypto
The approval of this fund comes as Canada has begun to warm up to the crypto trend.
According to a report from The Logic published earlier this month, the Bank of Canada, the nation’s central bank, is considering launching its own digital asset.
An internal Bank of Canada slide deck, which was purportedly presented to Governor Stephen Poloz and other members of the central bank’s top brass, revealed that the proposed cryptocurrency would be “widely available,” an eventually mandatory alternative to paper fiat, would be able to collect information about consumers, and would combat the “direct threat” of Bitcoin and its ilk. The presentation noted:
“We need to innovate to stay in the game… An additional payment method could make the payment system more robust.”
Spokesperson Louise Egan, however, asserted in a statement that the topic is still in its earliest stages. But, the value a Canadian cryptocurrency would provide seems clear; the presentation claims that banknotes are quickly becoming obsolete and expensive, while decentralized cryptocurrencies have begun to pose a threat to monetary policy.
Of course, a central bank digital currency, especially one focused on deterring decentralized money, isn’t something that conforms with the ethos of many in the Bitcoin community, but it does go to show that Canada isn’t sleeping on blockchain or crypto. Whether that is good or bad for something like Bitcoin is really up for debate though.