Fidelity Investments, one of the world's largest asset managers, plans to join the spate of companies offering investors access to bitcoin through a Canadian ETF with U.S. regulators balking at approval of the funds.
The Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF will invest in bitcoin directly or through derivative instruments, and customers will be able to make purchases in the fund with Canadian or U.S. dollars, according to a Nov. 22 filing from a unit of the Boston-based firm.
The exchange-traded fund, which would be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker FBTC, could be launched as soon as Thursday.
The filing comes several months after Fidelity officials met with the SEC to urge the approval of a similar ETF in the U.S. Chairman Gary Gensler has signaled that any such funds would have to comply with the strictest rules for mutual funds — in contrast to most applications, including Fidelity's. Fidelity filed for a bitcoin ETF in the U.S. in March.
While several bitcoin futures ETFs have recently been approved in the U.S., spot bitcoin ETFs have yet to be endorsed. By contrast, Canadian authorities have embraced bitcoin ETFs, which have attracted billions in investments.
"This should be embarrassing for the SEC that one of America's biggest, most storied names in investing is forced to go up North to serve its clients," Bloomberg senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas said on Twitter.
After bursting into the mainstream in 2017, bitcoin has proven to be one of the decade's best-performing assets despite lingering questions about its utility and price manipulation. The largest cryptocurrency by market value has returned around 6,000% over the past five years.