Investors in Switzerland may soon have another way to buy into digital coins, this time by way of a traditional bourse.
Swiss startup Amun AG is working to develop an exchange-traded product that would track a basket of the top virtual currencies, giving investors exposure to the nascent market without needing to actually hold the tokens themselves. The firm is seeking final approval for the offering from SIX Swiss Exchange and hopes to have it listed by the end of the year, according to Amun Chief Executive Officer Hany Rashwan.
“This was born out of our frustration at seeing vast swathes of the world excluded from easily participating in the digital assets revolution,” Rashwan said in an email. “We want to make buying crypto as easy as buying a stock.”
A spokesman for SIX declined to comment on Amun’s plans other than to say it only discusses final approvals and facts.
For months, industry enthusiasts have been pushing for an exchange-traded fund based on digital currencies, but U.S. regulators have yet to give their stamp of approval, citing concerns such as market manipulation and liquidity. To make up for the lack of ETFs, a number of alternative products that provide exposure to virtual coins have emerged. In Sweden, there’s an exchange-traded note called Bitcoin Tracker One, and investors in the U.S. can buy the Bitcoin Investment Trust. Those offerings, however, only reflect the biggest cryptocurrency.
Rashwan said his product will track the Amun Crypto Basket Index, which follows the performance of the top five digital tokens in terms of market value and liquidity. When an investor buys a share, the plan is for a market maker to purchase the equivalent amount of underlying virtual coins and send them to a third-party custodian for safekeeping.
Switzerland has shown a relatively friendly attitude toward crypto. Some have dubbed the town of Zug “crypto valley,” and SIX said in July that it’s developing a trading, settlement and custody service for digital assets.
“After exploring this across 23 different exchanges and territories around the world, we settled on Switzerland,” Rashwan said. “We believe this to be the best jurisdiction for our base and intend, after launching our initial products on the Swiss exchange, to both launch additional products as well as dual-list across additional geographies and stock exchanges.”