UK Approves Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs for London Stock Exchange Listing

May 22, 2024

In a landmark move, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has approved the listing of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) exchange-traded products (ETPs) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

This approval, granted to asset manager WisdomTree, signals a significant shift in the regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies in the U.K.

Asset manager WisdomTree, headquartered in New York and managing over $111 billion globally, is set to debut its Physical Bitcoin (BTCW) and Physical Ethereum (ETHW) ETPs on the LSE. Trading is expected to commence on May 28, targeting professional investors exclusively. These ETPs will carry a management fee of 35 basis points, aligning with similar products available on European exchanges since 2019.

The FCA’s approval comes after the regulator changed its tough stance on crypto derivatives, including ETPs, which were banned in January 2020.

However, witnessing the growing acceptance and success of such products in Europe and the recent U.S. approval of spot bitcoin ETFs, the FCA has revised its position. While the ban remains for retail investors, professional investors now have the green light to engage with these crypto ETPs.

The LSE’s acceptance of these applications marks a pivotal moment, reflecting the evolving attitude toward cryptocurrency investments in major financial markets. This move follows similar actions in other global financial hubs, including Hong Kong, and adds pressure on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to further relax its regulations on crypto ETFs.

With the U.K. joining the list of nations embracing crypto ETPs, the future looks promising for the integration of digital assets into traditional financial system. As regulatory bodies worldwide continue to adapt, the pathway for broader acceptance and innovation in the cryptocurrency space is becoming clearer.

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