Story by: Ana Alexandre
The CEO of investment management firm VanEck Associates, Jan Van Eck, said that the company is now offering a type financial product with exposure to Bitcoin (BTC).
In an interview with CNBC on Sept. 11, Van Eck said that the product offered by the firm is a broker-traded fund and is currently not available to the public, but to institutional investors only. Van Eck further specified that it will trade over-the-counter and will not trade on a national securities exchange. The broker-traded fund is called VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust 144A Shares.
Caveats to get exposure to Bitcoin
Qualified investors that are eligible to purchase the product must be an institution that has $100 million. “Any individual, no matter how rich, can’t buy it. It has to be an institution, it has to be a corporation, a bank, but a hedge fund can buy it, a mutual fund can buy it,” Van Eck continued.
When asked about the significance of the firm’s product and whether it represented a kind of breakthrough for the industry, Van Eck addressed regulatory issues regarding cryptocurrency and traditional exchanges. He said that VanEck Associates is trying to bridge the gap between the traditional finance sector and what he perceives to be the largely unregulated cryptocurrency sector.
The interview follows yesterday’s news that VanEck Associates issued just four Bitcoins via the new product.
Industry lawyer Jake Chervinsky recently argued that the product did not represent a legal Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), something which is still under consideration by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He said:
“This is misleading. The VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust is *not* an ETF. It looks exactly like the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which was launched almost six years ago.”
Earlier in September, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton spoke regarding the regulator’s latest take on Bitcoin ETFs. Clayton said that significant steps have been taken to address the issue, and added:
“Given that they trade on largely unregulated exchanges […] how can we be sure that those prices aren’t subject to significant manipulation? Now progress is being made, but people needed to answer those hard questions for us to be comfortable that this was the appropriate type of product.”