First bitcoin ETF could list in Korea next year

Aug 26th, 2015 | By | Category: Alternatives / Multi-Asset

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The world’s first bitcoin exchange-traded fund could list on the Korea Exchange next year, according to Korean news wires.

The first bitcoin ETF tracking could be listed in Korea next year

An ETF tracking bitcoin would open the currency up to a broader range of investors.

Korea Investment Trust Management, the Seoul-based investment manager, is expected to launch the ETF which will track the value of bitcoin based on prices from Korbit, South Korea’s bitcoin exchange.

Bitcoin is a digital currency (or cryptocurrency) which is created and held electronically. The major distinguishing feature of the currency is that there is no central bank controlling the supply and it is an anonymous and fast method of exchanging money. The fact that there is also a limited supply of bitcoin has spurred speculation in the asset since its creation.

The announcement joins the list of attempts to create financial instruments based on the currency. Earlier this year, Bitcoin Tracker One, an exchange-traded note (ETN), was launched on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. Also that month, the Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT) began trading over-the-counter in the US. Longstanding bitcoin supporters, the Winklevoss twins, have been seeking approval for the first US ETF linked to bitcoin. The twins expect to list the fund on the NASDAQ exchange and are currently awaiting approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Why is an ETF necessary when bitcoin can itself be purchased with relative ease? Speaking to Inside Bitcoins, Tyler Winklevoss offered some clarification: “For those that just want bitcoin asset exposure or those, like institutions, pension plans, 401(k)s, etc., that cannot invest in bitcoins themselves, their only avenue to gain bitcoin exposure will be through a structure like an ETF where they are purchasing a security and not the underlying asset itself.”

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