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EU Eyes Bitcoin Inclusion in €12 Trillion Mutual Fund Market

EU Eyes Bitcoin Inclusion in €12 Trillion Mutual Fund Market

May 9, 2024

EU Eyes Bitcoin Inclusion in €12 Trillion Mutual Fund Market

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU's financial regulator, is currently considering whether to integrate Bitcoin into the region's €12 trillion mutual fund market. This development comes as ESMA is looking for feedback on whether to expand the roster of eligible assets for Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS), which represent over 75% of the investment funds held by EU citizens.

If Bitcoin were to be approved for inclusion in UCITS, it would mark the first time that Europe would have mainstream access to Bitcoin through mutual funds. Fund managers would potentially have the opportunity to allocate a portion of their portfolios to Bitcoin within this extensive financial framework.

The ESMA has set a deadline of August 7 for the collection of input from stakeholders before it proceeds with making formal recommendations. This move is in line with other global developments, such as the approval of Bitcoin ETFs in the United States and Hong Kong.

However, the incorporation of Bitcoin into EU mutual funds faces hurdles, particularly concerning the custody of Bitcoin under the current EU regulations. The impending Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) legislation, among others, may necessitate adjustments to how assets are segregated and managed.

Unlike the ETFs that are solely focused on Bitcoin, UCITS encompasses a wide variety of funds with different asset allocations. Therefore, the approval would not necessarily result in the creation of Bitcoin-only funds, but rather, it would provide the opportunity for a vast amount of capital within UCITS to have limited exposure to Bitcoin.

The inclusion of Bitcoin could greatly enhance liquidity and foster broader adoption of Bitcoin within the EU. Nevertheless, given the stringent standards of EU financial regulations, there is still considerable friction ahead before Bitcoin could be integrated into the mutual fund market.

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