The SEC may be keeping investors waiting on the first Bitcoin ETF, but Canadians are soon to have the chance to invest directly in blockchain technologies through an ETF wrapper. Harvest Portfolios will launch Canada’s first blockchain ETF, the “Blockchain Technologies ETF” on the Toronto Stock Exchange next week under the HBLK ticker. It will reflect the Harvest Blockchain Technologies Index, which invests directly in companies which develop or implement blockchain technology.

Progress in Canada is happening quickly. Harvest Portfolios presented its preliminary prospectus last month, and two other investment companies are just behind it. First Trust Portfolios Canada and Evolve Funds Group Inc have both begun the regulators’ vetting process for their own ETFs.  

Multiple ETFs on the Way

First Trust already offers a blockchain ETF in the US, which will be the model for the Canadian version. According to Karl Cheong, their head of ETFs in Canada, “

every conversation we are having with clients – regardless if we are talking about a Canadian equities product or a U.S equity product – inevitability leads to blockchain or bitcoin.

Evolve plans to be the first Canadian offering for an actively managed ETF. Their president Raj Lala hailed blockchain technology as on the way to “disrupt virtually every business and industry, including financial services, real estate, health care and government,” and compared blockchain to “the second coming of the Internet”.

Then there are the companies which are not yet in the regulatory pipeline, but are inching closer. Horizons ETFs Management are also looking at the blockchain space. No strangers to financial innovation, they were responsible for Canada’s marijuana ETF. Their president, Steve Hawkins, thinks that ETFs are an ideal way to get exposure to developments in the crypto space. “If you can’t invest in cryptocurrencies directly”, he said, “why not invest in the companies themselves directly.

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