21Shares, the world’s largest issuer of cryptocurrency exchange-traded products, has launched a physically-backed Bitcoin ETP on the Nasdaq Dubai under the ticker symbol ABTC.
The new bitcoin ETP marks 21Shares’ first foray into the Middle Eastern market and will operate in the same way as its 21Shares Bitcoin ETP in Europe.
21Shares ETP launch highlights a friendly regulatory approach
Both institutional and retail investors will be able to invest in the ETP, and investors can purchase the ETP through their bank or broker. Market makers, which provide live quotes on the secondary market, quote the ETP on an order book the moment investors purchase an ETP. The ETP has an expense ratio of 149 basis points. The expense ratio describes the annual fee investors pay to cover, amongst other things, administration and portfolio management costs.
The launch of the ETP in the Middle East follows similar listings on the Six Swiss Exchange and the Deutsche Börse Xetra.
“Our expansion into the UAE is a major milestone in 21Shares’ international growth plans. We are committed to providing regional investors with safe and secure access to cryptocurrency-backed products,” said Hany Rashwan, 21Shares’ chief executive.
Nasdaq Dubai and Dubai Financial Market CEO Hamed Ali expressed his excitement at 21Shares choosing Nasdaq Dubai to list its Bitcoin ETP.
“We are pleased that 21Shares has selected Nasdaq Dubai to list its ETP. This is another testament to Dubai’s open, progressive, and innovation-first approach,” he said.
While regulators in the U.S. continue to grapple with how to regulate the crypto space cohesively, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, recently signed into law the Virtual Assets Law No. 4 of 2022. The law established the Dubai Virtual Assets Authority as the chief digital asset regulatory authority. VARA has already granted licenses to crypto exchanges Binance and FTX to operate in Dubai, while Kraken has secured approval to operate in Abu Dhabi’s free trade zone.
The US being left behind on ETPs
While crypto exchange-traded funds have already been launched in Canada, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Brazil, and now the Emirate of Dubai, spot bitcoin ETFs continue to be rejected by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC believes that the underlying bitcoin market is open to manipulation and unsafe for investors.
American investment firm VanEck had its spot bitcoin ETF application rejected in Nov. 2021, while the world’s largest digital asset manager Grayscale, has had its application to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into a spot bitcoin ETF also rejected by the SEC and subsequently sued the federal agency. It filed its opening legal brief at the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals on October 12, 2022. Other firms with applications rejected include First Trust and SkyBridge capital, and Fidelity Investments.
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