In a tweet Sunday afternoon, Second Market’s Barry Silbert revealed his busy schedule for Monday, March 24th, 2014. Along with other institutional investors, he will be attending Barclays Emerging Payment Forum at the Crowne Plaza Time Square Hotel in New York City. However, as the tweet reveals, Barry Silbert will likely be bogged down with meetings all day:
Requests from 38 institutional investors representing +$250 billion to meet with me re bitcoin at Barclays Emerging Payments Forum tomorrow
Barry declined to mention exactly which institutions had reached out to him for a face to face meeting; however, he was quick to point out the amount of interested money. 250 billion USD is not a small sum of money; however, nor is it an accurate measure of what Second Market’s Bitcoin Investment Trust could potentially raise.
Bitcoin Investment Trust Has Been A Big Hit With Licensed Investors
Second Market launched their Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT) last September. Barry Silbert was able to avoid the lengthy SEC pre-approval process by promising to publicly list all trades after a 12 month period. Currently, investors need to be licensed and make over $200,000 annually. Second Market denominates its funds and shares in US dollars and claims to have relationships with “over a hundred players in the Bitcoin space” to supply the Bitcoin to the trust, according to the Wall Street Journal. In this way, Second Market avoids exchanges altogether. In contrast, the Winklevoss twins applied for their trust to be an exchange-traded fund. Though they announced their intentions to create a Bitcoin Trust a full three months earlier than Barry Silbert, they are still stuck in the lengthy SEC approval process. As Rob Wile of Business Insider puts it: The Winklevoss Twins are on the verge of being beaten at their own Bitcoin game. Since the BIT’s launch in September, the trust has become the largest private Bitcoin fund despite requiring a $25,000 minimum investment.
Second Market Seeks To Open The BIT To Ordinary Investors
In the aftermath of the unfolding Mt. Gox drama, Second Market announced that they intended on taking the existing trust and making it available to the general populace by listing it on an online market operated by OTC Markets. With approval from OTC Markets and financial regulatory bodies in New York, BIT will finally be accessible to users with less than $200,000 USD annual income. In the WSJ article on Second Market’s announcement, Casey and Vigna mention that Second Market is looking for investment banks to act as market makers and law firms to act as security experts.
While users will still have to pay a 2% fee every year, some users will gladly swallow that cost to stay on the right side of the SEC. Others won’t touch it. Barry Silbert has also revealed that he hopes to have a fully regulated and compliant United States Bitcoin Exchange built under Second Market, hopefully by Summer of 2014. Needless to say, Barry Silbert’s 38 meetings tomorrow will go a long way in furthering both of his current pet projects.