Industry Updates

BlackRock set to file for bitcoin ETF with SEC – report

BlackRock first partnered with Coinbase last August

Jamie Gordon

BlackRock iShares office sign

The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, is reportedly on the cusp of filing an application for a bitcoin ETF in the US. 

BlackRock will work with Coinbase Custody, which will provide spot market data for pricing and hold the underlying assets of the ETF, a person familiar with the matter told Coindesk

BlackRock declined to comment on the filing. 

The US asset manager first partnered with Coinbase last August to offer its institutional clients the ability to buy bitcoin through its Aladdin platform. 

In the same month, BlackRock launched a spot bitcoin trust for its US institutional clients – the firm’s first structured vehicle wrapping direct crypto exposure. 

Both announcements were accompanied by statements from BlackRock detailing “significant interest” in the asset class from its clients. 

Last March, the firm’s founder, chairman and CEO Larry Fink said his firm was “studying digital currencies, stablecoins and the underlying technologies to understand how they can help us serve our clients”. 

BlackRock previously told ETF Stream it had “no plans” to launch an exchange-traded crypto product. 

A spokesperson said: “It is worth noting that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has yet to approve an application for a spot bitcoin ETP. 

“In general, any decision as to whether to launch iShares exchange-traded products (ETPs) is based on an array of factors including market and asset dynamics, regulatory considerations and client demand.” 

It is unclear whether its anticipated bitcoin ETF filing will be for a spot or synthetically replicated product – or whether the firm anticipates the SEC to remove its current ban on spot crypto ETFs. 

Speaking on the possibility of a BlackRock crypto ETF, Athanasios Psarofagis, ETF analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, previously said: “It may not be far off given they are now committed. It seems like the next logical step.” 

BlackRock’s signalled entry into the space would mark just the latest large asset manager tapping wrapped digital asset exposures. 

Invesco and Fidelity already have crypto ETPs in Europe. This year, DWS partnered with digital asset manager Galaxy with the intention of launching crypto ETPs in due course. 

Last month, Matteo Andreetto, head of SPDR EMEA at State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) told attendees of ETF Stream’s ETF Ecosystem Unwrapped his firm are “looking at” tokenised ETFs and private assets and believe the technology “will be game-changing”. 

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