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London Stock Exchange Opens Doors to Bitcoin and Ethereum ETNs

The Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom has announced its approval for the establishment of a market segment dedicated to crypto-backed Exchange-Traded Notes (ETNs), signaling a significant stride in the integration of digital assets into traditional financial frameworks.

In line with this development, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) has disclosed its forthcoming acceptance of applications for Bitcoin and Ether crypto ETNs, scheduled for initiation in the second quarter of 2024. Emphasizing adherence to stringent guidelines outlined in the Crypto ETN Admission Factsheet, the LSE mandates that these ETNs be physically backed, non-leveraged instruments with a transparent valuation mechanism tied to the prevailing market prices of Bitcoin and Ether.

The London Stock Exchange opens doors for Bitcoin and Ethereum ETNs -  Tech.eu

Integral to the exchange’s criteria is the requirement for underlying crypto assets to be securely stored, predominantly within cold wallets, and entrusted to custodians subject to robust Anti-Money Laundering regulations across various jurisdictions including the UK, EU, Switzerland, and the US.

Defined as debt securities providing exposure to crypto assets, ETNs serve as a flexible investment vehicle enabling traders to engage in crypto asset markets during standard trading hours. Distinguished from Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), ETNs represent a debt instrument underwritten by issuers, offering a distinct investment avenue particularly for strategies not easily accommodated within conventional funds.

Concurrently, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has expressed its non-objection to Recognised Investment Exchanges (RIEs) seeking to establish a market segment for crypto-backed ETNs, extending this opportunity primarily to professional investors such as credit institutions and regulated investment firms.

However, the FCA underscores the necessity for robust investor protections, advocating for ongoing disclosure and adherence to prospectus requirements as part of the UK’s listing regime. While acknowledging the potential benefits of ETNs for institutional investors, the FCA maintains its stance against retail investor participation, citing the inherent risks associated with crypto assets and the absence of regulatory safeguards.

In reaffirming its cautionary stance, the FCA underscores the high-risk nature of crypto assets, reiterating the importance of investor preparedness and vigilance in navigating this dynamic and largely unregulated market landscape.

Wasif Shakir

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