Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin to trade on public stock market for first time

July 20, 2020, 8:21 PM UTC

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Grayscale Investments, a New York firm that makes cryptocurrencies available in the form of stocks, announced on Monday that regulators have given the go-ahead for the sale of two new cryptocurrencies to the public.

One of the newly listed stocks will represent shares of Litecoin, one of the oldest cryptocurrencies after Bitcoin, and the other is Bitcoin Cash, a controversial spinoff to Bitcoin launched in 2017. They are respectively the eighth and fifth biggest cryptocurrencies by market cap, according to Coinmarketcap.

The new stocks, which will trade under the symbols LTCN and BCHG, will be available to the general public in the next two to four weeks.

While cryptocurrency enthusiasts typically purchase Litecoin and other digital currencies directly on dedicated crypto exchanges like Coinbase or Binance, Grayscale has found a niche selling them in the forms of shares.

The Grayscale crypto products amount to shares in a trust that holds the underlying asset. Even though the Grayscale shares trade at a premium to the price of the asset, they have found favor with some institutional investors concerned about investing in Bitcoin and other crypto assets directly.

Meanwhile, Grayscale stocks—especially Bitcoin—have found a niche with millennial investors on apps like Robinhood. Indeed, Charles Schwab reported in December that the Bitcoin stock, which trades under the symbol GBTC, was one of the top five equities held by millennials—ahead of stocks like Netflix.

“Grayscale builds investment products that operate within existing regulatory frameworks. With two additional products gaining approval for public trading, we’re broadening access for investors to gain exposure to the digital currency asset class,” said Grayscale’s managing director, Michael Sonnenshein in a statement.

The new Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash stocks bring to six the total number of cryptocurrencies available to the public as shares. The other stocks, also packaged by Grayscale, represent shares of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and a blend of different currencies.

More broadly, Grayscale has developed a lucrative practice selling shares of its trusts to accredited investors. Those investors are initially barred from reselling those shares to the public, but once regulators grant a green light to do so, they are typically able to make a considerable profit.

Grayscale stocks trade on the OTCQX, an over-the-counter market, where securities do not have to be registered with the SEC. Instead, industry regulator FINRA oversees such offerings.

This story has been updated to correct the ticker symbol for Bitcoin Cash and to reflect that the shares will be sold by secondary investors rather than by Grayscale directly.

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