On April 24, 2019, the Ontario Securities Commission held a hearing at the offices of the Commission, located at 20 Queen Street West, 17th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, to consider scheduling issues for the Application for a hearing and review filed by 3iQ Corp. and The Bitcoin Fund (the “Applicants”) on March 15, 2019 to review a decision of a Director of the Commission dated February 15, 2019.
The first opening statements was made by 3iQ Corp. and the Ontario Securities Commission on Monday, June 3rd at 10:00AM EST. After the public hearing, here is what President & CEO of 3iQ Fred Pye had to say.
We sincerely thank the Canadian digital asset industry for their support at our public hearing last week with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC). The hearing room was at full capacity as interested parties came from every profession relating to Fintech in Ontario. We also thank our legal counsel Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, for their continuous support and tremendous performance through the entire hearing process.
Since 2016, 3iQ Corp. (3iQ) has been working to bring a public bitcoin fund to market for Canadian retail investors. 3iQ chose to proceed “through the front door” with the OSC to ensure that The Bitcoin Fund addressed all of the regulatory concerns raised by OSC Staff. At the hearing, 3iQ submitted compelling evidence to prove that the custody, pricing and audit of The Bitcoin Fund could be performed in compliance with National Instrument 81-102 and other applicable securities law governing retail investment funds in Ontario. OSC Staff arguments relating to The Bitcoin Fund “not being in the public interest” of Canadians were addressed and 3iQ believes we presented a strong case that the time for this product and structure is now.
3iQ entered into evidence that a cryptoasset custodian which is regulated as a trust company by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) affirmed that it would be in the position to act as the sub-custodian of the Bitcoin Fund, and that the safety of the Fund’s bitcoin should meet the expectation of the regulator. It was also entered into evidence that 3iQ’s Global Cryptoasset Fund received a clean audit from Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton (RCGT).
3iQ submitted that events such as the QuadrigaCX losses in Canada and other platforms being hacked globally show the need for a disciplined product such as The Bitcoin Fund. It was highlighted that generally, the Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) which were rejected by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are structurally different than The Bitcoin Fund. The closed-end structure of The Bitcoin Fund requires a daily Net Asset Value (NAV) calculation, but redemptions at NAV are only available annually and therefore daily trading is not likely to be impacted by intraday price movements in bitcoin. Consequently, the risk of market manipulation in the downstream bitcoin market is unlikely to have a negative impact on The Bitcoin Fund or its investors. The Manager controls the subscription process for new units of The Bitcoin Fund, and bitcoin is purchased for the Fund from platforms and dealers that hold the “BitLicense” or are otherwise regulated by the NYSDFS.
Final submissions will be made to the Panel on July 24th. 3iQ believes we have defended our rights to make The Bitcoin Fund available to Canadian retail investors and that the Fund is in compliance with applicable securities laws. We are also encouraged by the Ontario government’s recent amendment to the Ontario Securities Act which introduces the principle that innovation in Ontario’s capital markets should be facilitated by the OSC when advancing the purposes of the Act. We look forward to further building financial innovation in the province of Ontario.
President and CEO
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