WisdomTree and Invesco are two of the institutions seeking approval to launch a BTC exchange-traded fund.
BlackRock has opened the flood gates to institutional asset managers who are racing to apply for exchange-traded funds offering exposure to Bitcoin.
Exchange-traded fund manager WisdomTree and investment management firm Invesco on Tuesday submitted filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seeking permission to launch Bitcoin ETFs.
The SEC received a flurry of applications from prospective Bitcoin ETF issuers over the past six days, beginning with the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, on June 15. BlackRock’s spot iShares Bitcoin Trust would use Coinbase as its Custodian.
Bitcoin ETF Applications Pile Up
Bitwise Asset Management, the largest crypto index manager, also filed for a spot Bitcoin ETF on the New York Stock Exchange the following day.
Shares in ETFs trade on traditional exchanges, providing regulated vehicles for institutional and retail investors to access exposure to an underlying asset. Both ETFs would trade on the CBOE BZX Exchange.
The SEC has rejected every spot Bitcoin ETF application it previously received, including from Fidelity, CBOE Global Markets, and NYDIG.
BlackRock began to “dabble” in trading Bitcoin futures contracts during early 2021, with the contracts expiring in March 2021 for a $360,000 profit. An SEC filing dated June 30, 2021 also revealed BlackRock owned $384M worth of shares in Bitcoin mining firms at the time.
Legacy Institutions Converge on Bitcoin
Crypto advocates believe the SEC’s recent campaign of regulation-by-enforcement targeting the crypto industry paved the way for TradFi institutions to benefit from the future growth of the crypto sector.
“All of a sudden, we’ve got these big Wall Street firms that are coming into crypto right after the runway’s been cleared,” Caitlin Long, the CEO of Custodia Bank, told The Defiant. “It sure appears that there’s an incumbency bias.”
EDX, a non-custodial cryptocurrency exchange backed by heavyweights Citadel Securities, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab, launched Tuesday. In early June, the CEO of Soros Fund Management commented that crypto is ripe for legacy institutions to “take the lead” in the digital asset space. Deutsche Bank also recently applied for a digital asset license to “build out [its] digital assets and custody business.”
The surge in institutional interest in Bitcoin comes as the network is gearing up for its fourth halving around late April 2024. The event takes place every four years, reducing the rate of new Bitcoin supply issuance by 50% from 6.25 BTC to 3.15 BTC.
Bitcoin is outperforming most cryptocurrencies despite its enormous market cap and dominance of 50%, ranking as the 18th-strongest performing digital asset among the top 100 with a nearly 12% gain in seven days.