In a groundbreaking move for the European digital asset market, London-based Jacobi Asset Management has officially listed the continent’s first spot Bitcoin ETF on Euronext Amsterdam. The Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF, trading under the ticker “BCOIN”, represents a significant leap forward for institutional Bitcoin investment in Europe, especially with its unique decarbonisation strategy.
The ETF, which has been regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC), stands out not only as the first of its kind in Europe but also for its compliance with SFDR Article 8. This compliance is achieved through a pioneering decarbonisation strategy, which includes a verifiable built-in Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) solution. This solution, supplied by digital asset platform Zumo, “transparently and quantifiably addressing electricity consumption of BTC investing,” as the official press release states.
Europe Wins The Race For A Bitcoin Spot ETF Over The US
Martin Bednall, CEO of Jacobi Asset Management, remarked, “It is exciting to see Europe moving ahead of the US in opening up Bitcoin investing for institutional investors who want safe, secure access to the benefits of digital assets using familiar and regulated structures like our ETF. Unlike other products in the European market which are debt instruments, our fund owns the underlying asset directly.”
The ETF’s benchmark, the FT Wilshire Bitcoin Blended Price Index, is provided by Wilshire Indexes. Mark Makepeace, CEO of Wilshire Indexes, emphasized the significance of this launch, stating, “The launch of the Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF is an important milestone for the digital asset industry and a transformative moment for the global financial industry.”
Kirsteen Harrison, Environmental Manager at Zumo, highlighted the environmental implications of the ETF, commenting, “The decarbonisation of crypto is one of the most pressing challenges facing the nascent digital assets sector… We’ve been working closely with Jacobi Asset Management to help them build out an ESG-aligned, future-proofed crypto offering for their customers.”
This listing is particularly noteworthy given the backdrop of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) repeated rejections of numerous applications for a spot Bitcoin ETF over the past few years. Europe’s move to list a spot Bitcoin ETF ahead of the U.S. underscores the continent’s progressive approach to digital asset regulation and investment.
It’s worth noting that Jacobi had initially secured approval for the fund back in October 2021 and had plans for a 2022 listing. However, due to unforeseen challenges in the digital asset market, including the collapse of the Terra ecosystem and the bankruptcy of crypto exchange FTX, the firm decided to delay its plans.
While exchange-traded notes (ETNs) are commonplace in Europe, Jacobi’s offering distinguishes itself as the first ETF. Unlike ETNs, where investors own a debt security, ETF shareholders own a portion of the product’s underlying shares. Jacobi has clarified that its ETF will not leverage or use derivatives.
At press time, the Bitcoin price remained stagnant, trading at $29,409.
[UPDATE:] Bloomberg’s James Seyffart has weighed in on the listing, noting, “While there are already numerous spot #bitcoin ETPs in Europe, labeling this as the ‘first European spot bitcoin ETF’ might be a bit of a stretch. It seems more like a regulatory arbitrage nuance than a genuine first in the market.”
Adding to the conversation, Gabor Gurbacs, founder of PointsVille and strategy advisor at VanEck and Tether, highlighted that a product registered in Guernsey isn’t automatically distributable into Europe without further registration. Such a product is distinct from those that are exchange-listed and registered within the EU.
He further emphasized that in the EU, a financial product can’t bear the ‘ETF’ label if it isn’t diversified. “It’s crucial to note that Guernsey isn’t an EU member but a self-governing dependency of the UK. Moreover, the majority of Bitcoin ETPs maintain a 1-1 physical Bitcoin pledge through an SPV,” Gurbacs added.
Featured image from Forkast News, chart from TradingView.com