On the morning of April 14, the price of bitcoin exceeded $ 62,000, thus rising to its all-time high on the eve of the IPO of one of the largest exchange platforms, Coinbase. And therefore, perhaps, it was inevitable that a gain of nearly 1,000 percentage points in less than a year would end up triggering a race, as wild as it was dangerous, for the most popular cryptovalute. Able – it should be remembered – to lose 50% in one night, as happened on March 12, 2020, black Thursday of the global stock exchanges. Yet the Bitcoin fever does not seem to subside. On paper, this crypto-frenzy could have been easily fulfilled: during 2020, in fact, at least four new ETPs (passive replication products) and an investment certificate were launched, listed in Zurich and Frankfurt, which allow to take position on digital currency (see table).
Everyone to buy cryptocurrencies? Not really. Not only because this type of investment is very risky and should not, in any case, exceed 5% of the portfolio. But also because, for many investors, access to specialized replicants remains effectively closed.
Economy has put 15 of the major banks, networks and platforms under the lens to verify which intermediaries allow you to invest in Bitcoin through ETP and under what conditions. This is what emerged.
With Fineco, you can place your order by phone or on the online platform. On Direct yes you can also buy it via home banking, after having answered an additional questionnaire. Banks can classify them as very complex instruments, which requires special procedures to protect the customer, explains Piermattia Menon, analyst at Consultique. With Sella Bank, you can buy ETPs on Bitcoins, independently or through a consultant, after evaluating the adequacy of the investor’s profile. Banco Bpm uses a similar criterion. And the other banks? In principle, the ETPs on Bitcoin traded in Frankfurt are also available in home banking and if the bank has not made them available, just ask for a census, explains Menon.
This happens for example with CheBanca!: Cryptocurrency replicants are not available through the financial advisory service. To purchase them independently, the customer must call and ask for the product to be temporarily unlocked. Elsewhere, however, it may happen that it is not possible, as in the case of Widiba and Bnl Bnp Paribas. The private networks of Intesa Sanpaolo – including Iwbank – have provided for a block: the only customers who can have access are professional ones. TO Unicredit you can buy it, but no advice is given. Saxo make direct and indirect operations (via ETP) on Bitcoin accessible to Italian customers of Binck e Banca Generali within the year.
Since these are listed instruments, many retail investors prefer Bitcoin ETPs to buying directly through specialized trading platforms, such as Coinbase, Bitstamp o Kraken, or generalists like eToro. The replicants have a limit: they do not allow to operate on Saturdays and Sundays, when the stock exchanges are closed. A problem for traders, not for those who buy thinking of Bitcoin as a potential store of value. Assuming that it can be considered as such, given the strong volatility.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin has returned above $ 50,000, for the first time in the last three months, since it had begun a downward trend for a variety of reasons, including the Chinese squeeze against virtual mines for production.