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Revolutionary Investment: London Stock Exchange Greenlights Bitcoin and Ether ETNs


Leo Gonzalez

March 11, 2024 - 10:24 am


London Stock Exchange Greenlights Bitcoin and Ether Exchange Traded Notes

The financial landscape in London is poised for a revolutionary expansion as The London Stock Exchange (LSE) positions itself to embrace the burgeoning world of cryptocurrency. In a recent announcement that has sparked interest among professional investors, the LSE stated it would begin to accept applications for the admission of exchange traded notes (ETNs) backed by two of the most popular digital currencies: Bitcoin and Ether.

The London Stock Exchange

Launch Strategy for Innovation

According to a statement released on Monday, the renowned financial market will accept applications starting in the second quarter of 2024, marking a significant milestone in integrating cryptocurrencies into traditional financial instruments. Though the precise date for this new venture has yet to be cemented, the LSE has signaled its intention to confirm the launch date as preparations unfold.

Criteria for Admission

In laying the groundwork for this progressive move, the LSE has established specific criteria for the proposed notes to ensure they align with regulatory requirements and offer a secure investment vehicle for market participants.

Key stipulations include:

  1. The ETNs must be non-leveraged and anchored by Bitcoin or Ether, ensuring that investment products are not subject to the amplified risks that come with borrowed capital.
  2. A mandate that at least 90% of the underlying cryptoassets are to be securely stored in offline depositary wallets, or other arrangements are made that yield an equivalent protective outcome—akin to cold storage.
  3. The custody of these digital assets must lie with custodians who are fully regulated to counter money laundering and are recognized within the jurisdictions of the UK, the European Union, Jersey, Switzerland, or the United States.

Rationale for Crypto ETNs

This bold move comes in the wake of Bitcoin's historic surge, having eclipsed a value of $71,000 for the first time—an indicator of the prevalent appetite for cryptocurrency investment opportunities. In the past year alone, Bitcoin's value has soared by approximately 70%, a testament to the colossal inflows of capital into US exchange-traded funds (ETFs) which cater to these digital currencies.

To illustrate this surge in demand, recently launched Bitcoin ETFs in the US have witnessed nearly $10 billion in net inflows in just two months, propelling an extensive rally across the cryptocurrency markets.

Further details on this phenomenon can be read in the Bloomberg report titled, "Bitcoin Tops $71,000 for the First Time as Rally Builds Steam".

Regulatory Perspective

Bringing clarity to the regulatory aspect, the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has expressed its stance in a separate statement, acknowledging that it will not stand against such initiatives advanced by recognized investment exchanges. However, the agency underscores that a ban will persist on offering these instruments to retail investors.

The regulatory authority maintains its position regarding ETNs and derivatives based on cryptocurrencies, articulating that they are unsuitable for the retail consumer due to the significant risks they present. The FCA is consistent in its advocacy for consumer protection within the volatile and unpredictable landscape of cryptocurrency investments.

Safeguarding Investors

The London Stock Exchange's imminent introduction of cryptocurrency-backed ETNs exhibits a judicious balance between innovation and investor safeguarding. By imposing strict requirements, such as the cold storage of assets and the involvement of regulated custodians, the LSE aims to mitigate the inherent risks associated with digital currencies while providing a regulated pathway for institutional investors to gain exposure to this asset class.

Institutional Embrace of Crypto

Despite the volatile nature and regulatory fears surrounding cryptocurrencies, significant players in the global financial markets, like the LSE, are taking tangible steps to integrate them into traditional trading paradigms. It suggests an institutional acknowledgment of cryptocurrencies' potential and a growing confidence in their staying power.

Guiding the Uncharted

By implementing robust frameworks to ensure the security and authenticity of these financial products, regulators and the LSE are jointly navigating uncharted territories. This strategic approach is expected to provide a blueprint for other exchanges contemplating a similar endorsement of digital assets.


The London Stock Exchange's move to admit Bitcoin and Ether ETNs signifies not merely an expansion of its financial repertoire but also a signal to the world of traditional finance's growing entwinement with digital currencies. As the parameters of investment continue to evolve, the stakes are high, and the London exchange's prudent undertaking could very well mark the beginning of a new era in finance.

Please note this article utilizes information attributed to Bloomberg L.P. © 2024. For further depth and to retain reader engagement, linking to the original Bloomberg content is advised.

Source: Bloomberg L.P.

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