Bitcoins can now be traded on the public markets. After a long wait, Grayscale Investment’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT) received formal approval on March 26 and began trading in May with the ticker GBTC.

Over the last few days the price of BIT surged, and at one point traded at US$133.70 per share.

A share of GBTC is equivalent to approximately one tenth of a bitcoin. As of today, GBTC on major exchanges is traded at US$49 per share, which means that bitcoins in the Bitcoin Investment Trust are being sold at $490 per BTC.

On its debut, the shares of Bitcoin Investment Trust traded at around $35 per share and rose to $45 per share in a matter of days, an amount significantly higher than the value of bitcoin on other exchanges. On the first day, investors traded 765 shares (76.5 BTCs), including Joe Colangelo and Alan Silbert, founder of BitPremier.

According to founder Barry Silbert, the Bitcoin Investment Trust held more than 100,000 BTC in April 2014.

The Details of BIT

The Bitcoin Investment Trust was assembled by Grayscale Investments and is led by Barry Silbert for two main purposes — to make bitcoin eligible for investment by institutions, and to guarantee its investors a safe storage of BTCs.

So far, major investment firms have held back on purchasing and holding bitcoins due to the uncertainty over regulations and compliance. The Bitcoin Investment Trust allows investors to invest in bitcoin “via a security, making it eligible for investment for institutions, certain IRAs and other types of brokerage accounts.”

All too often, bitcoin holders have fallen victim to security breaches and hacking of their online wallets. These incidents could deter investment firms from taking a large position in bitcoin. And while lost BTCs in wallets and exchanges are not recoverable, the shares of Bitcoin Investment Fund guarantee an ownership of bitcoins.

The arrival of GBTC has been eagerly anticipated and could signal the start of a new era for bitcoin. BIT now gives investors a fully regulated and transparent way to invest via the public markets. Hopes are high that this will bring bitcoin to the attention of a wider audience and make it an attractive option for institutional investors to pour money into. It also marks the first clear path for funds held in retirement accounts to gain some bitcoin exposure.