DUBAI: The Bitcoin Fund debuted on Nasdaq Dubai on Wednesday, becoming the Middle East's first listed cryptocurrency fund.
The fund, which was listed by Canadian digital asset management firm 3iQ on the Toronto Stock Exchange last year, has roughly $1.5 billion in assets under management and plans to manage double that next year.
"With the listing of the Bitcoin Fund, it's going to give people access in the region to this fund on the Dubai exchange in the hours that the Dubai exchange trades at," Frederick Pye, founder and CEO of 3iQ, told Reuters.
"If the volumes are significant, we'll be looking to raise capital to increase the size of the Bitcoin Fund here in Dubai and we will continue to issue shares based on the demand that comes from the region," Pye said in an interview.
The listing will help satisfy demand for investment diversification in the region, as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) needs, such as for pension funds and family offices, Pye said.
China's crackdown on mining cryptocurrencies had hit digital currency prices, Pye said, but the timing of this had actually helped those who bought into the Dubai listing.
"We're very excited because when we hit an all-time high, our investors and our clients and our friends will have doubled their money," Pye added.
(Reporting by Jacob Greaves and Abdel Hadi Ramahi; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Alexander Smith) ((Yousef.Saba@thomsonreuters.com; +971562166204; https://twitter.com/YousefSaba))