By Yousef Saba
DUBAI, April 20 (Reuters) - Canadian digital asset management firm 3iQ has received regulatory clearance for a dual listing of the Bitcoin Fund QBTCu.TO on Nasdaq Dubai, making it the Middle East's first indexed cryptocurrency digital asset-based fund, 3iQ's chief executive said.
The Bitcoin Fund, which was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange last year, has roughly $1.5 billion in assets under management and plans to manage double that next year, Frederick Pye, chairman and CEO of 3iQ, told Reuters in an interview.
"The idea is bitcoin trades 24 hours a day ... so our interest is to bring a regulated product to the Dubai market in their time hours," Pye said.
The shares are expected to start trading on Nasdaq Dubai in the second quarter. Pye said 3iQ is already in talks with exchanges in Singapore, Taiwan, Sweden and the United States to list the Bitcoin Fund in those markets, eventually aiming for cryptocurrency trading around the clock.
Dalma Capital, a Dubai-based alternative investment firm, was 3iQ's syndicate manager for the fund's Middle East expansion. Corporate finance advisor 01 Capital and investment firm Razlin Capital, both London-based, advised on the listing and Pinsent Masons was legal counsel for the listing process.
"We believe that this is the opportune moment to expand this unique investment opportunity into the Middle East region," said Pye.
Institutional investors including sovereign wealth funds have expressed interest in the listing, said Zachary Cefaratti, CEO of Dalma Capital Management.
"There's just been a lot of grassroots demand for it. Historically, investors who tried to invest in bitcoin through their regional banks ... in a lot of cases, if the banks found out they were sending money to cryptocurrency exchanges, they would actually close their accounts. So this is a huge shift and a huge change," Cefaratti said.
(Reporting by Yousef Saba; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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