Britain’s largest brokerage firm, Hargreaves Lansdown, announced that it would provide its clients with the opportunity to invest in bitcoin by listing XBT Provider’s Bitcoin ETN (exchange traded note) on its online trading platform.
London-based Hargreaves Lansdown was founded in 1981 and has grown into Britain’s largest brokerage firm with over 875,000 customers and £70 billion ($90.27 billion) of assets under administration. The idea to provide its customers with the opportunity to gain investment exposure to the digital currency bitcoin sprung out of investor interest.
Hargreaves Lansdown’s Head of Communications, Danny Cox, stated:
"We have seen a handful of clients asking for the [bitcoin] ETN, so it’s not purely driven by a provider wanting to be listed [on Hargreaves Lansdown’s platform]. We are making it available to self-select investors in the same way we offer access to around 3,000 other exchange-traded funds, notes, and commodities."
The bitcoin ETN provided by Sweden-based XBT Provider is listed on the Nasdaq Nordic exchange in Stockholm and comes in two formats; the Bitcoin Tracker One (COINXBT SS), and the Bitcoin Tracker Euro (COINXBE SS), which are denominated in Swedish krona and euros respectively.
According to the XBT ETN fact sheet, “the Certificates are non-equity linked securities which synthetically track the performance of the price of bitcoin less a fee.” That means that the exchange traded note is structured in a way that it tracks the price of bitcoin (in US dollars) but does so in euros or krona minus a fee. That also means that UK investors who purchase the bitcoin ETN will not only be exposed to the fluctuations in bitcoin but also those of the US dollar to either the euro or the krona depending on the ETN the investor buys. XBT ETN holders will face a fee of 2.5 percent per annum.
"By adding self-service, online dealing, the team at Hargreaves Lansdown is providing UK investors with professional and quick access to bitcoin in the UK and greater Europe," XBT's Head of Investor Relations, Ryan Radloff.
The fact that the largest brokerage firm in the UK is offering bitcoin investment options to its customers due to strong client interest in the digital currency is a clear sign that there is still a lot of potential demand for bitcoin, and volume, yet to enter the market. That, of course, bodes well for the continuance of bitcoin’s impressive rally in 2017.