The Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, a proposed exchange traded fund focused on the digital currency bitcoin, made plans to switch its exchange listing to BATS Global Markets from the Nasdaq, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday.
Initially, the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, were planning to launch their bitcoin trust on Nasdaq. But BATS, which is a big player in ETF’s, convinced them to switch. The exchange operator executed 24.5% of U.S. ETF trading in May, according to BATS.
The Winklevoss brothers first proposed their trust three years ago and are still awaiting SEC approval. Assuming they receive it, they would have the first SEC-regulated bitcoin-related investment vehicle. It would trade under the ticker symbol COIN.
Bitcoin is a digital currency launched in 2009 designed to be run without government backing or oversight from banks and other middlemen. Since its launch, the market for it has grown steadily, despite some scandals, investor losses and, at times, staggering volatility.
Still, the new ETF would indicate a further maturation of the market and offer investors a new avenue to participate. Grayscale Investments, the investment vehicle of Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, launched its Bitcoin Investment Trust on OTC Markets Group last March.
The Winklevoss brothers also plan to use another of their bitcoin-related properties, the Gemini Trust Co., as the bitcoin trust’s custodian, according to the filing. Gemini, which operates a digital-currency exchange, received a trust charter from the New York State Department of Financial Services in October and will hold the bitcoins underlying the trust.
The changes in the latest filing could bring the project closer to fruition, just as bitcoin’s profile is rising due to roiling capital markets.
Recent sharp moves in currencies and stocks put the fairly controversial currency in an unusual position: a potential hedge or even safe haven. Bitcoin rose to $687 by June 25 from $553 on June 23, the day of the Brexit vote. Most recently, it has come back to around $642, according to Coindesk.
The new ETF would also be BATS’s first bitcoin-related asset. “We are excited to add the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust,” said Laura Morrison, head of exchange-traded products at BATS.