Earlier today, the Winklevoss Bitcoin Fund, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss formally filed for shares on Nasdaq. The Bitcoin Trust filed with the Securities Exchange Commission to apply to sell 1 million shares. Astute observers have read between the lines and noted that a lack of a specific launch date and/or expense ratio indicates that the ETF is still months away from seeing the public light.
The Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust is officially sponsored by Math-Based Asset Services LLC, which also runs the WinkDex. The Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF’s Form S-1 previously revealed the twins’ intention to trade under the ticker “COIN” while tracking the WinkDex. The SEC filing explained the Bitcoin ETF’s objective:
The investment objective of the Trust is for the Shares to reflect the performance of the price of Bitcoins, as measured by Winkdex, less the expenses of the Trust’s operations.
The Winklevoss twins have been notoriously tight-lipped on the progress of the ETF, due to the rules of the long application process. However, the Winklevoss’s intentions for creating this ETF have long been crystal clear. During a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA), Cameron Winklevoss reminded Bitcoin-curious readers that “ETP’s and ETF’s are NOT exclusive to accredited investors, any investor can purchase shares.”
Bitcoin funds, such as the Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT) offered by SecondMarket, have long existed for accredited investors. A Bitcoin ETF would allow the average Joe to have some exposure to Bitcoin through traditional investment methods available to those who are able and interested. The Winklevoss twins seem to hope that the ETF will play a role in jump-starting Bitcoin’s adoption by the masses. Cameron explained why the Bitcoin ETF was necessary:
It will should appeal to “technologically challenged folks” as well investors and investment funds (hedge funds, pension funds, etc.) who are unable to hold the bitcoin asset outright based on their subscription agreements, but can buy/sell equities.
Speaking with ETF.com, the Winklevoss twins explained how they hope their Bitcoin ETF might appeal to those who utilize Gold ETFs:
Investors historically have chosen to offload the friction of directly buying and securing assets such as gold for a reasonable fee. We believe investors will behave the same with regard to bitcoin. Also, since the ETF will be listed on the Nasdaq, investors will be able to trade their shares in the ETF like they would any other stock in a public company.
The Winklevoss twins will be speaking “more extensively” on their plans for the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF at the Inside ETFs conference in January.
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