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Fans of Digital Currency Ether Can Now Buy ETNs—In Sweden

Ether is becoming more accessible to everyday investors. The digital currency that competes with bitcoin is now available via two exchange-traded notes, which track its price and are available on Nasdaq’s Sweden exchange.

XBT Provider by CoinShares, which already offers a similar investment vehicle for bitcoin, said in a statement Wednesday that the notes will track the price of ether, as determined by an index rate comprising the average of the three most liquid of a select group of exchange prices daily.

The new instruments mean investors can now buy the cryptocurrency through broker instead of via online websites called exchanges or so-called wallets. The price of ether was little changed today at about $301, according to researcher CoinDesk.

“There’s a large number of investors who are interested in ether, but don’t want to go to exchanges and create a wallet,” Eric Balchunas, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, said in a phone interview. “This is for the kind of crowd that is looking at getting an easy way to get crypto.”

The notes could also be a step toward the U.S. approving new cryptocurrency-related investment products, such as an exchange-traded fund, Balchunas said. Attempts to get a bitcoin ETF approved in the U.S. have failed this year.

“This is a guinea pig for the U.S.,” Balchunas said. “These products are showing the world that you can make a bitcoin ETF, that’s doable.”

COINXBE and its krona-denominated twin, COINXBT, had about $277 million in combined assets as of Oct. 9, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The net asset value for both ETNs is derived from relevant exchanges or the futures market. Unlike an exchange-traded fund, which holds the asset it tracks, an ETN is an unsecured debt security, Balchunas wrote.

Similar bitcoin-related notes have attracted $300 million since CoinShares launched the products in 2015. With ether, “we’d like to be there within six months,” Ryan Radloff, co-
principal at CoinShares, said in a phone interview. “We are hopeful that the ethereum product will outpace the bitcoin products within six months.”

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