A new NYSE-traded Bitcoin ETF is about to give the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust a run for its money.
The just-announced SolidX Bitcoin Trust, which is backed by New York Mellon Bank, has secured insurance for loss or theft of its bitcoins while the Wiknlevoss trust would be uninsured.
It’s called the SolidX Bitcoin Trust and its S–1 was filed with the SEC today. The most interesting contrast between the two proposed funds is what happens if their bitcoins are lost or stolen. In its S–1 filing, the Winklevoss explained that:
The Trust will not insure its bitcoin. … Therefore, Shareholders cannot be assured that the Custodian will maintain adequate insurance or any insurance with respect to the bitcoin held by the Custodian on behalf of the Trust. Furthermore, Shareholders’ recourse against the Trust, Custodian and Sponsor under [New York] law governing their custody operations is limited. … Consequently, a loss may be suffered with respect to the Trust’s bitcoin which is not covered by insurance and for which no person is liable in damages.
In a recent filing with the SEC, the fund’s Bats Exchange explained that:
The Custodian has evaluated different insurance policy options and determined not to obtain coverage at this time due to insurers’ lack of understanding and sophistication with respect to Digital Assets, which has led to a thin marketplace of policies that are (i) not priced in an actuarially-fair manner and (ii) don’t properly model relevant loss vectors. Unfortunately, an efficient and effective marketplace for bitcoin insurance has not yet developed.
Despite all that, in its S–1 filing today, SolidX reports that it has secured insurance for its bitcoin holdings:
The Trust will maintain crime, excess crime and excess vault risk insurance coverage underwritten by various insurance carriers. The purpose of the insurance is to protect shareholders against loss or theft of the Trust’s bitcoin. The insurance will cover loss of bitcoin by, among other things, theft, destruction, bitcoin in transit, computer fraud (i.e., hacking attack) and other loss of the private keys that are necessary to access the bitcoin held by the Trust.
That’s quite a stark contrast. Coin Center has previously worked with Lloyds of London to help it and its insurance market participants understand the challenges and risks of securing bitcoins. You can read our report for Lloyd’s here.