Several major financial institutions, including BlackRock, Fidelity, and VanEck, have joined the race to list the first spot-traded Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the United States. While the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) previously approved a Bitcoin-linked Futures ETF in October 2021, the current focus is on spot Bitcoin ETFs.
BlackRock’s Entry and Ripple Effect
BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with over $8 trillion in assets under management, filed for a spot Bitcoin ETF on June 15. This move prompted other institutions to refile their spot Bitcoin ETF applications. The SEC formally accepted BlackRock’s application for review on July 15.
Key Bitcoin ETF Applicants
This New York-based asset manager initially filed for a spot Bitcoin ETF in December 2021 but faced rejection in 2022. Following BlackRock’s entry, WisdomTree refiled its application on July 19. Despite facing SEC rejection earlier, asset management firm Valkyrie refiled its spot Bitcoin ETF application on June 21. ARK filed an application for its ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF in June 2021, aiming to launch it on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) BZX Exchange upon approval.
NEW: @JSeyff & I are upping our odds to 75% of spot bitcoin ETFs launching this yr (95% by end of '24). While we factored Grayscale win into our prev 65% odds, the unanimity & decisiveness of ruling was beyond expectations and leaves SEC w "very little wiggle room" via @NYCStein pic.twitter.com/IyEGmWjuHa
— Eric Balchunas (@EricBalchunas) August 30, 2023
A pioneer in Bitcoin ETF applications, VanEck filed a new application in July 2023, following prior attempts in 2018 and 2020. Fidelity Investments reapplied for its Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust on July 19, 2023, with Fidelity Digital Assets as the BTC custodian. Invesco and Galaxy Digital jointly filed for a physically backed Bitcoin ETF in September 2021 and refiled their application in July.
Increased Approval Chances
Grayscale’s recent legal victory and the surge in renewed applications have led Bloomberg analysts to raise their expected approval chances for a spot Bitcoin ETF from 65% to 75%.The SEC has delayed its decision on all seven applicants, with expectations that a decision may not be reached until early 2024. The first significant indicator of the SEC’s stance is expected on January 10, particularly regarding the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF.