Investors in Brazil can now trade a spot Bitcoin ETF

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(Kitco News) –  While U.S. investors have been patiently waiting since 2013 for the Securities and Exchange Commission to approve a spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), investors in Brazil can now access a physically backed crypto ETF thanks to Galaxy Digital and Itaú Asset. 

Itaú Asset, the largest private asset manager in Latin America, has partnered with Galaxy Digital, the financial services and investment management company founded by billionaire Mike Novogratz, to offer the IT Now Bloomberg Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BITI11) on Brazil’s B3 Stock Exchange as part of Itaú Asset’s broader ETF suite, the IT Now Series.

The new product launched today and allows investors in the country to gain exposure to Bitcoin in a regulated setting. According to the press release, BITI11 is the first of many crypto-related products to come. 

“Galaxy and Itaú Asset aim to expand the suite over time to include other diversified strategies in the digital asset space,” the announcement read. 

Itaú Asset is the investment fund management arm of Itaú Unibanco, Latin America’s largest private asset manager, with approximately $165 billion in AUM.

“We aim to offer the best solutions to our clients to meet their investment needs in a diversified way and with an international scope,” said Renato Eid Tucci, Head of Beta Strategy and ESG Integration at Itaú Asset. “This partnership combines the solidity and credibility that we have built over more than 60 years at Itaú Asset with the strength and expertise of Galaxy as one of the most experienced players in the global digital asset space.”

This collaboration between Galaxy Digital and Itaú Asset comes at an interesting time for the crypto ETF market. Last week three crypto-related ETFs in Australia were delisted for poor performance amid a slump in asset prices.  

Galaxy Digital is currently navigating the unfolding situation with FTX, with the firm disclosing a $76.8 million exposure to the embattled exchange in its Q3 earnings report, with $47.5 million worth of funds currently stuck in the withdrawal process.

As of October 31, 2022, the investment management company had $2.04 billion in assets under management across passive, active, and venture strategies. 

“We are thrilled to partner with Itaú Asset to bring institutional grade crypto ETF products to the Brazilian market,” said Steve Kurz, Global Head of Asset Management at Galaxy. “Our shared mission is to satisfy the strong demand in the region for high-quality education and access to the growing crypto economy.”

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