It may soon be easier for average investors to get in on the bitcoin craze without dealing with some of the risks.
Blockchain startup SolidX published an initial public offering filing on Tuesday (July 12) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for a bitcoin fund listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
SolidX’s filing to list publicly underscores the growing interest in bitcoin as an investment asset. Gemini, a bitcoin exchange run by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, recently filed to become a bitcoin trust on the BATS exchange.
The SolidX bitcoin ETF has a unique property: bitcoins will be insured against loss or theft up to $10,000,000. There are dozens of situations where bitcoins can be lost or stolen—like, say, misplacing one’s hard drive.
“Insuring the underlying assets in any trust makes sense, regardless of whether those assets are physical commodities, intellectual property, or cryptocurrency,” explained Peter Van Valkenburgh, director of research at bitcoin and blockchain policy firm Coin Center. “These things can be stolen, misplaced, or destroyed and insurance companies help us mitigate those risks and ensure that investors are protected against inherently unpredictable events.”
Unpredictable events happen all the time in the virtual currency world. In 2014, $460 million suddenly disappeared from Mt. Gox, one of the biggest bitcoin exchanges at the time and a seemingly reputable firm. More recently, an attacker funneled $50 million from the Distributed Autonomous Organization that was built on top of Ethereum, another virtual currency network similar to bitcoin.
But investors are understandably interested in bitcoin. Bitcoin Tracker One, a trust listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange, is up 66% since April 1. Greyscale Bitcoin Trust, which trades on the OTC markets and was created by Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert, is up 120% over the same period. Since those are on smaller exchanges, they are more difficult for investors to access.