Fidelity Investments, a financial giant with over $4.9 trillion in assets under management, has filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to list a new bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).
The ETF would be launched by Fidelity subsidiary FD Funds Management, and would be called the Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust. It would hold bitcoin and the value of its shares would be based on the Fidelity Bitcoin Index, which tracks the price of the flagship cryptocurrency at major exchanges including Coinbase and Bitstamp.
In a statement, Fidelity said: “The digital assets ecosystem has grown significantly in recent years, creating an even more robust marketplace for investors and accelerating demand among institutions. An increasingly wide range of investors seeking access to bitcoin has underscored the need for a more diversified set of products offering exposure to digital assets”.
The SEC has to date rejected several bitcoin ETFs as it argues the market is not yet ready, despite a growing number of applications. Fidelity’s move comes after bitcoin ETFs were listed in Canada and Brazil.
Last week the SEC acknowledged a bitcoin ETF proposal from VanEck. While Fidelity’s ETF will not sell bitcoin directly it will use the cryptocurrency to pay for certain expenses, which would be considered a sale of the BTC under the current IRS guidance.
It’s worth noting Fidelity has ventured into the cryptocurrency space in the past. It established Fidelity Digital Assets in 2018, a subsidiary that is offering cryptocurrency custody and trade execution services. Late last year, it was reported the subsidiary would start letting its institutional customers pledge bitcoin as collateral against cash loans, thanks to a new partnership with blockchain startup BlockFi.
Fidelity Investments Chief Executive Officer Abby Johnson has said the company’s custody business related to bitcoin has been “incredibly successful” and created a “tremendous pipeline” for investors.