The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accepted asset manager BlackRock’s application for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), signalling a major step for the potential launch of the country’s first spot Bitcoin ETF.

See related article: BlackRock files for spot Bitcoin ETF, taps Coinbase as custodian

Fast facts

  • On July 13, the SEC added BlackRock’s spot Bitcoin ETF application to its list of proposed rulemaking filings for the Nasdaq stock market — a move that signals the regulatory body’s intent to take the application seriously. 
  • Given BlackRock’s global stature in the asset management industry, that signal is considered significant as a potential indicator of greater institutional adoption of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to come.  
  • The move follows BlackRock’s filing of an amended Bitcoin ETF application in late June. SEC officials reportedly expressed concern that the original ETF applications filed by BlackRock and other asset managers were not sufficiently comprehensive. 
  • To convince the regulators, BlackRock has added a “surveillance-sharing” agreement with U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase to its updated application. Competitors including Ark Invest, Fidelity Investments and others are also filing similar amendments to their respective Bitcoin ETF applications.
  • On July 14, the day after the BlackRock decision, the SEC also added the Bitcoin ETF applications of WisdomTree, VanEck, Fidelity and Invesco Galaxy to its docket.
  • BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager with over US$9.4 trillion in assets. The firm filed for its first spot Bitcoin ETF on June 15, fueling optimism for further institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies.
  • A Bitcoin ETF allows customers to invest in Bitcoin without directly holding the token, and can be traded on traditional stock markets. The U.S. SEC approved the nation’s first Bitcoin futures ETF on June 23, but is so far yet to give the green light to a spot Bitcoin ETF.
  • Elsewhere, Europe’s first spot Bitcoin ETF — proposed by Jacobi Asset Management — is expected to be publicly listed this month. That follows a 12-month delay from the initially planned date, according to reporting by the Financial Times

See related article: US SEC says Bitcoin ETF applications inadequate: WSJ