Crypto trading venue Huobi Pro has launched what it says is the world’s first cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF) targeted at retail investors.
Announced on Friday, the Singapore-based exchange’s new product — called HB10 — allows investors to purchase shares in a basket of cryptocurrencies based on the firm’s recently launched benchmark index, the Huobi 10.
Investors can subscribe to the cryptocurrency ETF using bitcoin, ether, USDT, or Huobi tokens. The fund has a minimum investment of roughly $100, depending on the current prices of each asset.
There is some debate about whether HB10 should truly be called a cryptocurrency ETF since it does not trade on a regulated securities exchange as conventional ETFs do and cannot be held in conventional brokerage accounts.
Nevertheless, Huobi is the latest in a growing list of investment firms that have launched funds that track an index of cryptocurrencies, a group that includes Grayscale Investments, Coinbase, and Bitwise Asset Management.
What sets HB10 apart is that it can be purchased by retail investors with a very minimal initial investment, while the others are restricted to accredited investors willing to plunk down tens of thousands of dollars — or more. Coinbase, for instance, currently requires an initial contribution of $250,000 for its index product.
Shares of the fund will initially trade against USDT on Huobi Pro, though the website suggests that the exchange will open up trading pairs against other coins in the future. Investors will also be able to swap shares of the fund for the underlying assets in real time, which should help ensure that the value of the fund remains linked to its net asset value (NAV).
In the US, numerous fund providers have attempted to list cryptocurrency-based ETFs on regulated securities exchanges, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has thus far refused to approve any of these proposals.
A Huobi spokesperson confirmed to CCN that the product would have the same regional limits as the wider trading platform, meaning that investors in some countries — including the US — will not be able to invest until Huobi Pro launches in those jurisdictions.
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