The Middle East’s first bitcoin fund launched on the Dubai bourse on June 23, with Canadian digital asset manager 3iQ Corp seeking to raise around $200 million in the offering.
Created in 2008 as an alternative to traditional currencies, bitcoin is the world’s most popular virtual unit, but its price has slumped recently due to fresh moves from China to crack down on cryptocurrencies.
“3iQ Corp, Canada’s largest digital asset investment fund manager … today officially listed The Bitcoin Fund on Nasdaq Dubai, the region’s international exchange,” the bourse said.
It said that “this fund is the world’s first regulated major Bitcoin fund to be listed on the capital markets in the Middle East North Africa region”.
“Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day around the world, and in Canada we trade around North American market times and Dubai is almost perfectly opposite of [those] trading hours,” 3iQ Corp CEO Fred Pye told Bloomberg Television.
“We think if the market holds up for the next few months while we get the listing going, we expect to probably be quite far north of [$200 million].”
Bitcoin fell under $30,000 on June 22 for the first time in five months, hit by concerns over China’s crackdown.
The unit had recovered some lost ground by 1040 GMT on June 23, punctuating a rollercoaster month of trading, standing at $34,104 apiece.
Chinese mines power nearly 80 per cent of the global trade in cryptocurrencies despite a domestic trading ban since 2017.
But in recent months several provinces have ordered mines to close as Beijing puts the industry under the regulatory microscope.
Authorities in the province of Sichuan ordered the closure of 26 mines last week, according to a notice widely circulated on Chinese social media and confirmed by a former bitcoin miner.
The 3iQ fund finished up 10.38 per cent at $38.30 following June 23 trading, according to the Nasdaq Dubai website.
The fund’s prospectus says that it seeks to invest in long-term holdings of bitcoin as a less volatile alternative to direct investments in unpredictable cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are minted by solving puzzles using powerful computers that consume enormous amounts of electricity.