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A sign advertises a Bitcoin ATM at a shop in Halifax on Feb. 4, 2020.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

The world’s first bitcoin exchange-traded fund saw record volume on its first day of trading as investors bought and sold more than $260-million of shares throughout the day.

Purpose Investments, the asset management arm of Purpose Financial LP, began trading its newest ETF Thursday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker BTCC , after the price of Bitcoin (BTC) reached an all-time high of US$52,000 on Wednesday. By the end of the day, the fund had about $160-million in investor assets.

The fund is the first of two bitcoin ETFs to hit the shelf this week as ETF provider Evolve Funds Group Inc. announced it will begin trading its fund – The Bitcoin ETF – on Friday under the ticker EBIT.

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Both funds will go head-to-head – each charging a 1-per-cent management fee – to offer investors the ability to invest directly in bitcoin without the need for a digital wallet.

Bitcoin is a digital currency that is not backed by any country’s central bank. Launched in 2009, the cryptocurrency spiked in popularity in 2017 after reaching US$20,000 before plummeting more than 85 per cent in 2018.

In addition to Purpose and Evolve, there are a handful of other asset managers who plan to launch Bitcoin ETFs once they receive regulatory approval.

Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc. , 3iQ Corp. , Accelerate Financial Technologies Inc. and Arxnovum Investments Inc. have all publicly applied with regulators to list bitcoin ETFs which would also trade on the TSX.

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