An exchange-traded fund started by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss to invest in the virtual currency bitcoin will be listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Winklevoss twins, who claimed Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social-networking website, are seeking to open the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust as the first ETF tracking a virtual asset. Winklevoss Capital Management is the fund's sponsor.
Bitcoin, proposed in 2008 by a person or group using the name Satoshi Nakamoto, is a software protocol for issuing and moving money across the Internet. Prices for bitcoins surged above $1,100 last year before sliding to about $432 as of yesterday, according to CoinDesk, which tracks key exchanges.
The Winklevosses owned about $10 million in bitcoins, or 1% of the outstanding amount, when they filed their initial application with the SEC on July 1. About 12.7 million bitcoins had been created as of May 1, according to Thursday's filing.
The digital currency has gained traction with merchants selling everything from Sacramento Kings basketball tickets to kitchen mixers on Overstock.com to illegal narcotics.
It's also drawn scrutiny for potential abuse. The SEC issued an alert to investors yesterday about the risks of bitcoins or other virtual-currency related investments. The alert focuses on the idea that bitcoin has been particularly volatile and that because it is virtual it is an target for fraudsters.
More than 1,500 ETFs in the U.S. manage about $1.7 trillion, investing chiefly in stocks, bonds and commodities. ETFs, unlike mutual funds, issue shares that trade on an exchange like a stock. They typically track an index.