The First Blockchain ETFs Have Launched on the Nasdaq Exchange

Reality Shares Advisors and Amplify Trust ETF launched the first blockchain-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on Nasdaq today.

Both funds went live on Nasdaq’s exchange at 9:30 a.m. EST. Reality Shares’ Nasdaq NextGen Economy ETF (BLCN) opened at $24.20, while Amplify’s Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK) started closer to $20.

Both ETFs will exclusively invest in blockchain-based companies, according to a previous CoinDesk article. When the prospectuses were first filed in November 2017, the companies noted that investing in blockchain startups could be risky, as there are few regulations on the technology and companies may not necessarily turn a profit.

However, the prospectuses also noted that the funds would only invest in companies with a market capitalization of greater than $200 million and which had a six-month daily trading average of at least $1 million.

Reality Shares has developed an index with Nasdaq to track blockchain startups which the ETF will utilize, said Kian Salehizadeh, an analyst with Reality Shares. Nasdaq’s blockchain research team forms part of the index’s contributors. The index is further supported by an algorithm developed by Reality Shares.

Salehizadeh continued:

We wanted to do a blockchain technology-related ETF, so not another bitcoin fund but something that takes advantage of the underlying ecosystem. So we developed a methodology in-house which measures seven quantitative factors and we run those factors on a universe of publicly traded [data].”
He further told CoinDesk that the company’s ETF originally contained the word “blockchain” in its name, but the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had his company remove the term.

While the SEC has not formally issued an approval of the ETFs, the lack of a formal disapproval means the ETFs were automatically approved under current law, Salehizadeh explained. At present, the SEC has 75 days to issue a disapproval or objection to an ETF filing. If no such disapproval or objection is stated, the funds can be listed.

Companies have previously filed for blockchain-based ETFs, but none had made it as far as listing prior to Reality Shares and Amplify Trust. Most recently, Horizons ETFs Management filed for a blockchain ETF in November.

Amplify Trust ETF had not responded to a request for comment at press time.

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