Two firms recently filed for a new bitcoin Exchange Traded-Fund (ETF) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The filing, according to market structure analyst Joe Saluzzi, is “laughable” because of its 19-page long risk section.
The ETF filing was brought forth by VanEck Associates, an asset management firm overseeing $54 billion and more than 70 exchange-traded products, and by SolidX Partners, a New York-based financial technology company developing cryptography software. It’s set to be priced at 25 Bitcoins per share, worth about $191,250 at press time.
Per Joe Saluzzi, co-founder of Themis Trading, the ETF is “laughable,” as it has a risk disclosure section that is 19 pages long. According to Business Insider, he stated:
"Listen, I got a problem in general with the ETFs in bitcoin," Saluzzi said in a phone interview. "They have market structure problems they haven't begun to address, but this one is a stand out. It is laughable.”
Unnamed market observers Business Insider cites reportedly revealed the number of pages it has doubles the length of risk sections in typical ETFs. Eric Evin, chief executive of fund manager Reality Shared, noted that it was larger than the disclosure section of risky investment products such as those tied to oil and volatility index VIX. Per the CEO, one of the original traded notes tied to VIX, VXX, has a risk disclosure section that is 9 pages long.
Various analysts notably see a Bitcoin ETF as a natural next step in the cryptocurrency’s growth, as it could see more investors enter the crypto space. Regulators have, on the other hand, pushed back against such a product over the risks these could present investors.
These risks include the flagship cryptocurrency’s lack of liquidity when compared to more mature markets, and the lack of market surveillance that could stop its price from being manipulated. These risks are included in the filing, it reads:
"The price of bitcoin may be influenced by fraud and manipulation for a number of reasons, including the following: most bitcoin spot markets are not regulated or supervised by a government agency; platforms may lack critical system safeguards, including customer protections; volatile market price swings or flash crashes; cyber risks, such as hacking customer wallets; and/or platforms selling from their own accounts and putting customers at an unfair disadvantage."
If accepted, the ETF will see SolidX handle custody of the bitcoins using cold storage solutions to keep them safe. The funds investors put in will reportedly be insured one-to-one by “a syndicate of insurers” the firms didn’t disclose much about.