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Merrill Lynch bans clients from investing in Silbert bitcoin fund

From Reuters - January 3, 2018

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bank of America Merrill Lynch banned clients from investing in one of bitcoin mogul Barry Silberts top funds last month, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

As of Dec. 8, the Wall Street brokerage stopped approving new orders for the Bitcoin Investment Trust due to concerns about the suitability and eligibility standards of this product, according to the memo sent to roughly 17,000 brokers at Merrill Lynch and Merrill Edge, a unit for clients who manage their own trades.

Bitcoin Investment Trust is run by Grayscale Investments, which is led by Silbert. A former Wall Street investment banker and prominent supporter of cryptocurrencies, Silberts role in the world of digital coins was the subject of a Reuters special report last month.

We look forward to speaking with Merrill Lynch and addressing any questions or concerns they have about the Bitcoin Investment Trust, Silbert told Reuters in an email.We are unaware of any similar policies at other brokerage firms.

Wall Street has taken a cautious approach to digital currencies, which are unregulated and have very volatile trading patterns. Last month, Chicago-based derivatives exchanges Cboe Global Markets and the CME Group launched bitcoin futures, but some banks and brokerages remain reluctant to trade them.

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