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Canadian securities regulator approves first blockchain ETF

Canadian investment company Harvest Portfolios has received the approval from the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) to launch the country's first blockchain fund – Blockchain Technologies ETF – with the ticker HBLK, The Globe and Mail reported.

In a media release, Harvest Portfolios said that ETF is designed to provide Canadian investors access to the developing blockchain technology sector.

“HBLK seeks to replicate, to the extent reasonably possible and before fees and expenses, the performance of the Harvest Blockchain Technologies Index. HBLK invests in equity securities of issuers exposed, directly or indirectly, to the development and implementation of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies,” it said.

The fund is expected to begin trading this week on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Harvest, a registered investment fund manager and portfolio manager, will act as promoter, trustee, manager and portfolio manager of HBLK and will be responsible for the administration of HBLK.

In addition, two other firms – First Trust Portfolios Canada and Evolve Funds Group – have filed preliminary prospectuses with Canadian securities regulators for blockchain funds.

Evolve Funds Group is seeking approval for an actively managed ETF that focuses on blockchain technologies – Evolve Blockchain ETF (LINK).

“LINK actively invests in equity securities of issuers that are involved in the research, development, or utilization of blockchain technologies, or involved in the supply chain for blockchain applications including technology hardware. Evolve ETFs, a registered investment fund manager and portfolio manager, will act as promoter, manager, trustee and portfolio manager of LINK and will be responsible for the administration of LINK,” the firm said.

First Trust is seeking to launch the First Trust Indxx Innovative Transaction & Process ETF with the ticker BLCK. The fund will replicate the performance of the Indxx blockchain Index. First Trust already has a Blockchain ETF trading under the ticker LEGR in the U.S., which the Canadian fund will closely imitate.

"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 [a discussion about] blockchain or bitcoin," says Karl Cheong, head of ETFS for First Trust Portfolios Canada. "The concept of blockchain is very attractive to investors right now, and while the idea is still very novel, the research shows that this is a technology that could potentially save billions of dollars in cost, and that is very attractive."

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