The first Bitcoin ETF application was filed way back in 2013 by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. However, the US regulators have not approved any such application to date.
But now, they are seemingly under tremendous pressure, with some of the biggest players in traditional finance throwing their hats in the ring.
Race for BTC ETF Hots Up
In the latest, the world’s largest fund manager – BlackRock – filed on June 15 for a spot Bitcoin investment trust fund through iShares, the company that manages its family of ETFs. In less than two weeks, several other companies, including rival asset management giant Fidelity, refiled for spot Bitcoin ETFs. The other prominent names include Invesco, WisdomTree, Valkyrie Investments, and VanEck.
These companies have tried to address the SEC’s concerns, as reflected in the regulator’s lawsuit against Binance and Coinbase. For example, the BlackRock application features a surveillance-sharing clause, a first for spot Bitcoin ETF applications. Ten days after the SEC’s lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase, BlackRock added a surveillance-sharing clause to its application.
Under the surveillance-sharing agreement, the fund manager will share trading, clearing, and customer identity details with the regulators to avoid fraud and manipulation.
However, news reports hinted that the SEC found BlackRock’s application inadequate and lacking specific details. Subsequently, the asset manager refiled the application stating that it had appointed Coinbase as its surveillance partner.
Ark Invest, which filed its spot Bitcoin ETF application with the investment company 21Shares in April, amended its filing on June 28 to add a surveillance-sharing clause. Ark Invest is also likely to have Coinbase as its surveillance-sharing partner.
The soaring interest of big players in spot BTC ETF has galvanized the entire crypto market, with BTC maintaining its price of around $30K.
Ark Invest First in Line: CEO Cathie Wood
Now, if the SEC grants the green light, whose application it will approve first is being debated.
Cathie Wood, CEO of ARK Investment, argued that her company is first in the line if the SEC approval comes, Bloomberg reports. She said the agency can take up to mid-January for Ark Invest’s and up to March for Black Rock’s spot BTC ETF applications to either approve or reject them.
But clarity will be available much before when the court delivers its verdict, expected in August, in Grayscale’s lawsuit against the SEC’s decision to reject its spot Bitcoin ETF application.
The Grayscale Bitcoin ETF proposes to be fully backed by BTC in cold storage. Wood argued that approving Bitcoin Futures ETF, which involves swaps, and not greenlighting a fully-backed Spot ETF is a contradictory.
Considering all these factors, BlackRock has no edge over Ark Invest, the Ark Invest CEO claims.