Fidelity Investments unveiled plans Wednesday to launch an exchange-traded fund that tracks the price of bitcoin, furthering the money manager’s push to bring cryptocurrencies to mainstream finance.
The ETF, called Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust, will aim to match an index that takes spot prices from various bitcoin markets, including popular exchanges, Fidelity said in a securities filing. Fidelity Digital Assets will serve as the fund’s custodian, storing Wise Origin’s holdings.
The ETF, which requires the Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval, would mark a major step forward in the firm’s bitcoin ambitions. If it is approved, the ETF could be available for purchase on the large brokerage and wealth-management platforms that oversee trillions of dollars of individual investors’ assets.
The SEC has repeatedly rejected applications for bitcoin ETFs, blocking investors from buying into the market through a financial vehicle whose low fees and tax advantages have helped upend the way stock and bond funds are sold. But the industry remains hopeful some funds will eventually break through.
Fidelity was among the first major financial firms to embrace cryptocurrencies as an asset class, and its chief executive, Abigail Johnson, has long championed the market’s potential. The money manager’s support was an important milestone for a market that met reluctance from Wall Street over concerns about risk, regulations and stability. That resistance has faded as the prices of bitcoin and other popular digital assets have surged, drawing interest from investors large and small.