Bitcoin Investment Trust filed a public registration statement with the SEC on January 20, 2017, for a proposed initial public offering. This is the second bitcoin investment vehicle trying to register its securities after SolidX Bitcoin Trust filed last July.
According to its registration statement, the Bitcoin Investment Trust is a passive investment fund that will hold bitcoins from US dollar-denominated online exchanges that fit specific criteria. The trust would sell blocks of 100 shares (called a basket) to allow public investors to conveniently invest in bitcoin without having to figure out how to directly buy, hold, and safe-keep bitcoin themselves. Instead, the investor could rely on the trust to hold and secure the bitcoin while allowing the investor to trade the shares and implement investment strategies on an exchange with which the investor is familiar. The Bitcoin Investment Trust has already been trading over the counter under the symbol GBTC.
Both SolidX and the Bitcoin Investment Trust filed confidential registration statements last March. SolidX has been working through SEC comments to its filing and a proposed change to the NYSE Arca rules which would allow trading of its bitcoin-only backed shares. A number of public comment letters have been submitted in support of the proposal, but the SEC has yet to approve the rule change or SolidX’s registration statement. Bitcoin Investment Trust will need to follow the same process and also ask for a NYSE Arca rule change. Followers have been bearish on the likelihood of the SEC approving the rule change, but perhaps the new Trump Administration will change outlooks.
The SEC has until March 30, 2017, to comment on SolidX’s proposed rule change and that decision will be precedent for any similar request Bitcoin Investment Trust makes.