The first spot Bitcoin ETF in Europe has finally launched. Dubbed the “Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF,” it is compliant with the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) and is now live on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange.
Unlike other digital asset funds, this one follows the EU’s sustainable finance guidelines, specifically Article 8 of the Sustainable Finance Disclosures Regulation (SFDR) through its decarbonization strategy. It gives institutional investors access to Bitcoin’s benefits while meeting ESG goals.
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Details of Europe’s first spot Bitcoin ETF
Jacobi received approval for this spot Bitcoin ETF almost two years ago in October 2021. But the firm decided to delay its launch plans due to difficult market conditions in the industry in 2022. The launch finally happening now has put Europe ahead of the U.S. with regards to having a spot Bitcoin ETF on the market.
“It is exciting to see Europe moving ahead of the US in opening up Bitcoin investing for institutional investors,” said Martin Bednall, the CEO of Jacobi. He also added that their ETF is for investors who “want safe, secure access to the benefits of digital assets using familiar and regulated structures.”
Unlike other products in the EU which are debt instruments, Bednall clarified that Jacobi owns the underlying asset directly for the ETF. Fidelity Digital Assets handles custodial services while Flow Traders serves as market makers.
Meanwhile, DRW and Jane Street serve as Authorized Participants, and Wilshire Indexes provides the benchmark for the fund through the FT Wilshire Bitcoin Blended Price Index.
According to a report on Blockworks, Jacobi secured an initial capital investment to start operations on August 3rd. Its spot Bitcoin ETF implements a built-in solution for verifiable Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) developed by Zumo, the digital asset platform. Using external data, Jacobi measures energy usage linked with Bitcoin. Then it buys and retires equivalent RECs, known and accepted as instruments for buying green power.
Will the US and other markets catch up?
To date, only futures-based Bitcoin ETFs have been approved in the US, while numerous spot Bitcoin ETFs have been rejected. Recently, however, the SEC formally accepted a spot Bitcoin ETF application from Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager.
This led to a flurry of other applications and re-filings from other firms hoping to be among those who win approval from the SEC when it finally makes a decision. Unfortunately, deadlines for approval have already been delayed to early 2024, so US-based investors eager for a spot Bitcoin ETF of their own will just have to keep waiting – for now.