The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has approved a proposed investment fund based on the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
An OSC hearing panel issued its decision Wednesday regarding Toronto-based fund manager 3iQ Corp.’s Bitcoin Fund, which was originally rejected in a decision by the regulator’s staff.
The panel ordered that decision set aside and that the commission will receipt the proposed fund’s prospectus.
In its decision, the panel said that the OSC staff didn’t prove its concerns about liquidity, valuation and security of the fund’s assets were enough to deny it prospectus approval.
“Bitcoin is a novel asset in an emerging and evolving market” the hearing panel said in its decision. Calling Bitcoin a “risky asset,” the panel continued: “Some novel asset classes and securities products fail. They become tulip bulbs or dot-coms. Others succeed and become gold or the next great technology. Securities regulators are not mandated to try to pick winners and losers.”
The panel also ruled that it was not proven that Bitcoin is uniquely illiquid, and that it can’t comply with the requirements for valuing illiquid assets held by an investment fund.
“I find that [3iQ] have taken reasonable steps to mitigate the risks associated with the fund and the Bitcoin markets through the structure of the fund and the use of professional and qualified third-party service providers,” the commission said in its decision. It declined to impose any conditions on the fund.
Following the OSC’s ruling, 3iQ said that it “expects to syndicate the offering as soon as possible” and that it is aiming to have the fund trading this quarter.
“We look forward to offering retail investors exposure to this exciting new asset class within registered and traditional investment accounts,” said Howard Atkinson, chairman of 3iQ.
“We have addressed the questions of pricing, custody, audit, and public interest issues in a regulated investment fund. We intend to refile the prospectus as soon as possible as the next step in bringing this ground-breaking fund to investors,” added Fred Pye, president and CEO of 3iQ.