Here’s what happened in crypto today

The Jacobi Bitcoin ETF is finally going live on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange, more than a year after its planned launch. Meanwhile, crypto custodian Prime Trust has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after being unable to honor user deposits for months and a Chinese man was reportedly arrested for buying and transferring stablecoins.

First EU spot Bitcoin ETF hits Euronext Amsterdam exchange

Europe will welcome a first-ever spot Bitcoin ETF after the long-awaited launch of Jacobi Asset Management’s Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF.

The London-based digital asset management firm announced that its new investment product was going live on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange on Aug. 15, more than a year later than its planned launch in 2022.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the offering was touted as the first spot or physical-backed Bitcoin fund that would allow investors to gain exposure to a financial product that is physically backed by BTC.

The new exchange-traded fund (ETF) is set to trade under the BCOIN ticker, while the product was approved by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission back in October 2021. As reported by Blockworks, Fidelity Digital Assets will handle the custodial elements of the BCOIN ETF.

The asset management firm also highlighted the environment and socially friendly nature of the fund, having added a renewable energy certificate (REC) to the ETF.

The fund taps into external data to measure the energy usage of the Bitcoin network and buys and retires the RECs. The RECs are also accounted for on a blockchain service, which is aimed to allow investors to verify the eco-friendly claims of the fund.

BCOIN makes use of the FT Wilshire Bitcoin Blended Price Index to access real-time average Bitcoin price data from certain cryptocurrency exchanges. The spot ETF allows investors to gain exposure to the Bitcoin market without having direct ownership or custody of the underlying asset.

The launch of the spot Bitcoin ETF marks a milestone for Europe, while United States regulators are yet to approve a number of similar spot Bitcoin ETF applications from major asset managers, including BlackRock and Fidelity.

A statement from Jacobi CEO Martin Bednall highlighted the continent’s progressive attitude toward cryptocurrency investment products as a potential catalyst for further adoption:

“It is exciting to see Europe moving ahead of the US in opening up Bitcoin investing for institutional investors who want safe, secure access to the benefits of digital assets using familiar and regulated structures like our ETF.”

The launch of the Jacoby Bitcoin ETF follows the debut of a Bitcoin Equities ETF on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange by Melanion Capital in June 2023. The ETF is designed to track the Melanion Bitcoin Exposure Index, which is a custom basket of European and American stocks closely tied to BTC’s market price.

This differs from the spot ETF in that investors gain exposure to the fund, which comprises stocks from companies with significant investments in Bitcoin holdings, cryptocurrency exchanges and mining operations.

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This includes the likes of technology firm MicroStrategy, which holds over 140,000 BTC, as well as major Bitcoin mining companies, such as Riot, Marathon Digital and Hut8.

Prime Trust files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Prime Trust filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court following months of being unable to honor customer withdrawals.

In a court filing it said it it has between 25,000 to 50,000 creditors with estimated assets of $50 million to $100 million compared to liabilities between $100 million to $500 million.

Prime Trust said will file court motions to facilitate its evaluation of all alternatives which may include potentially selling its assets and operations.

The motions are also expected to include requests to continue to pay wages and benefits to employees.

A court petition by Nevada’s business regulator that was approved in July said Prime Trust owed over $85 million in fiat to its clients but only had around $2.9 million.

Its digital asset liabilities were smaller, with Prime Trust owing about $69.5 million in crypto while holding around $68.6 million.

China enforcing crypto ban with latest arrest

China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency transactions remains in full swing, as evidenced by the latest enforcement actions in Fujian province.

According to local media, a man described only as Mr. Chen was convicted by the Fuzhou Mawei People’s Procuratorate on charges of “concealmant and concealment of crime” for purchasing $13,067 worth of Tether’s USDT stablecoin. Mr. Chen reportedly received a request from his acquaintance, Mr. Lin, to purchase the USDT on his behalf. Prosecutors seemed to imply that the transaction was used for money laundering.

“Con artists use virtual currency to transfer and launder stolen money,” the Fuzhou Mawei People’s Procuratorate said, according to a Google translation. “This kind of online money laundering in the name of purchasing virtual currency, knowing that others use the information network to commit crimes and providing assistance to them, has violated the law.”

Mr. Chen was sentenced to nine months in prison and fined 5,000 yuan, or $689.

China has been cracking down on cryptocurrencies since at least 2017 and has expanded its enforcement actions recently. Multichain was shut down in July after Chinese police arrested the protocol’s CEO.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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