OSC removes regulatory hurdle for Bitcoin investment fund

By The IJ Staff | November 01 2019 11:38AM

Photo: Freepik

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has overturned an earlier decision blocking Toronto based fund manager, 3iQ Corp., from offering the country’s first Bitcoin fund to retail investors.

A director of the OSC had previously denied a receipt for the Bitcoin Fund’s prospectus over concerns about Bitcoin’s liquidity, the integrity of Bitcoin markets and concerns about the fund’s ability to safeguard its assets and file audited financial statements. Issuing a receipt for a final prospectus is generally the last hurdle companies must clear before offering securities to the public.

“This application is about the prospectus clearance and review process under the (Securities) Act and the scope and limits of the director’s authority under the Act to refuse to issue a prospectus receipt,” writes OSC commissioner and panel chair, Lawrence Haber. “This application is not about the merits of the units to be offered by the Bitcoin Fund. It is not the role of securities regulators to approve or disapprove of the merits of securities being offered to the public.”

Haber adds that immunizing investors against risk or loss is also outside the regulator’s authority. “Some novel asset classes and securities products fail. They become tulip bulbs or dot.coms. Others succeed and become gold or the next great technology. Securities regulators are not mandated to try to pick winners and losers.”

Haber says although the concerns about Bitcoin expressed by the director and OSC staff are warranted and should be taken seriously, they are not enough to warrant denying a receipt for the fund’s prospectus.

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