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Britain’s Largest Broker Offers Exchange-Traded Bitcoin Investments

Largest British Broker

Britain's Largest Broker Offers Exchange-Traded Bitcoin InvestmentsHargreaves Lansdown plc is a financial service company based in Bristol, a city in South West England. The company “is the UK’s number 1 ‘investment supermarket’ for private investors,” according to its website. With 876,000 clients and more than £70 billion traded, the company currently offers “more than 2,500 funds, UK, US, Canadian and European shares, ETFs, investment trusts, bonds and gilts.”

Different types of accounts are available through its investment platform, also known as the Vantage Service. They include regular brokerage accounts, tax-efficient Individual Savings Accounts (ISA) and Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) accounts.

Bitcoin Investments Available

Britain's Largest Broker Offers Exchange-Traded Bitcoin InvestmentsOn Thursday, June 1, two bitcoin investments were added to Hargreaves Lansdown’s platform; Bitcoin Tracker One and Bitcoin Tracker Eur. Listed on Nasdaq Nordic in Stockholm, the former is denominated in Swedish krona (SEK) and the latter in the euro (EUR). Both are issued and managed by Stockholm-based XBT Provider AB, with Global Advisors (Jersey) Limited as the guarantor.

Both instruments are bitcoin Exchange-Traded Notes (ETNs) which are debt securities backed by the credit of the issuer. They track the price performance of bitcoin, giving investors exposure to the digital currency. However, investors do not own the bitcoin itself. Danny Cox, Head of Communications at Hargreaves Lansdown, told the Telegraph that “We have seen a handful of clients asking for the ETN.”

XBT Provider describes its products:

The certificates will provide an exposure to the performance of the digital currency bitcoin as priced in USD on the Primary Marketplaces. Holders of certificates will have exposure to both the performance of bitcoin and the fluctuations in the relevant foreign exchange rate.

The primary marketplaces listed in the ETNs’ prospectus are Okcoin, Kraken, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Itbit, Gemini, Gdax, and Gatecoin. The foreign exchange rate risk for Bitcoin Tracker One is USD/SEK whereas it is USD/EUR for Bitcoin Tracker Eur.

While the certificates are denominated in SEK and EUR, they track the price of bitcoin in USD. “As the BTC/USD market is the most liquid bitcoin market widely available for trading, we regard it as the most suitable underlying asset in a bitcoin product,” the company explained.

Both ETNs are currently available for Hargreaves Lansdown investors with regular brokerage accounts or SIPP accounts, but not tax-advantaged ISA accounts. The brokerage firm charges £11.95 per trade to start investing in these instruments but the cost decreases with the number of trades.

Bitcoin Investment Trust No Longer Available Online

Britain's Largest Broker Offers Exchange-Traded Bitcoin InvestmentsBarry Silbert’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) also used to be available for online trading on the Hargreaves Lansdown platform for regular brokerage accounts, but not SIPP or ISA accounts.

However, the brokerage firm has posted a notice on its website which reads: “Bitcoin Investment Trust NPV cannot currently be traded online. For further information about trading this security, or to obtain a current price, please telephone our dealers.” This restriction is likely due to the trust having applied to list and trade on the NYSE Arca exchange. Its application is now pending approval by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)

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56 Bitcoin Companies Approve Segwit-2Mb Combined Fork Plan

Barry Silbert’s firm the Digital Currency Group (DCG) revealed a scaling agreement on May 23 with a letter of intent backed by 56 Bitcoin companies, for Sergio Demian Lerner’s recent Segwit-2Mb plan. The announcement states the signed agreement represents a “critical mass of the bitcoin ecosystem” with 83.28% of hash power supporting the proposal.

Also Read: Sidechain Juggernaut RSK Labs Launches Ginger Testnet After $3.5M in New Funding

The Anticipated ‘Barry Silbert Scaling Proposal’ Has Been Revealed

For a few days bitcoin enthusiasts have been anticipating the56 Bitcoin Companies Approve Segwit-2Mb Combined Fork Plan “Barry Silbert” scaling plan  hinted at a few days ago. Following Silbert’s statements about a new scaling effort, a meeting took place in connetion to the Consensus 2017 conference. As the conference came to an end, Silbert’s venture capital firm DCG revealed the compromise proposal.

The agreement is supported by 56 digital currency companies stemming from 21 countries worldwide. The letter states the agreement has the backing of over 83 percent of the network’s hash power. This group represents 5.1 billion USD monthly on chain transaction volume and 20.5 million bitcoin wallets within the economy.

“We agree to immediately support the following parallel upgrades to the bitcoin protocol, which will be deployed simultaneously and based on the original Segwit-2Mb proposal,” explains the DCG announcement.

Activate Segregated Witness at an 80% threshold, signaling at bit 4 and activate a 2 MB hard fork within six months.

A Proposal to Lower the Segwit Threshold to 80%

Prior to DCG’s announcement 56 Bitcoin Companies Approve Segwit-2Mb Combined Fork Plandiscussions of lowering the Segwit threshold that took place during the Consensus 2017 scaling panel, Eric Lombrozo stated it was possible to lower the Segwit threshold. After the discussion on May 22, Bitcoin developer James Hilliard proposed a “Reduced signaling threshold activation” BIP.

“I would like to propose an implementation that accomplishes the first part of the Barry Silbert proposal independently from the second: ‘Activate Segregated Witness at an 80% threshold, signaling at bit 4,’” explains Hilliard. “The goal here is to minimize chain split risk and network disruption while maximizing backward compatibility and still providing for rapid activation of Segwit at the 80% threshold using bit 4.”

By activating segwit immediately and separately from any HF we can scale quickly without risking a rushed combined segwit+HF that would almost certainly cause widespread issues.

Companies/Individuals that Approved Consensus; The Future of Bitcoin

Some of the notable companies and people that agreed to this Segwit activation compromise include Decentral, Grayscale investments, Jaxx, Bitmain, Xapo, Yours, Bitpay, Gavin Andresen, Bitcoin.com and Guy Corem.

The medium article further suggested 56 Bitcoin Companies Approve Segwit-2Mb Combined Fork Planthe community is prepared to handle any growing pains as a cohesive whole that has proven technical compromises can be made in the most challenging and high-risk environments. The consensus article echoed this sentiment:

“We are also committed to the research and development of technical mechanisms to improve signaling in the bitcoin community, as well as to put in place communication tools, in order to more closely coordinate with ecosystem participants in the design, integration, and deployment of safe solutions that increase bitcoin capacity.”