Coinfeeds Daily → BlackRock Clears SEC Hurdle on Shares For Bitcoin ETF: ‘Debate over’

BlackRock Clears SEC Hurdle on Shares For Bitcoin ETF: ‘Debate over’

Published: Dec 20, 2023 | Last Updated: Mar 17, 2024
Howard Kane

BlackRock updates iShares Bitcoin Trust, signaling progress towards the long-awaited Bitcoin ETF, potentially ushering in a new wave of crypto investment.

As the financial world eagerly anticipates the introduction of the first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the United States, BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, has made significant strides towards making this a reality. The company has updated its iShares Bitcoin Trust, signaling a closer move to the launch of a Bitcoin ETF, a development that could potentially bring a wave of new capital into the cryptocurrency market.

Choosing a New Ticker and Cash-Only ETF

BlackRock has chosen a new ticker for its iShares Bitcoin Trust, now known as IBIT. In a strategic move, the ETF will operate on a cash-only basis. This decision aligns with the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) preference for cash creation over in-kind creation. The cash-only model means that investors will buy and sell shares of the ETF with cash, rather than trading with actual Bitcoin. This simplifies the process and could lead to a more straightforward and potentially less volatile investment experience for individuals looking to gain exposure to Bitcoin without directly purchasing the digital currency.

Clearing Regulatory Hurdles

BlackRock's agreement to offer cash redemptions for its potential spot Bitcoin ETF marks the end of a significant debate over the redemption method. Initially, BlackRock had pushed for an in-kind redemption model, which would have involved the actual movement of Bitcoin. However, the SEC has shown a clear preference for cash creations, which limits the handling of Bitcoin to the issuers themselves, in this case, BlackRock. This approach is designed to avoid complications that could arise from unregistered broker-dealer subsidiaries handling Bitcoin.

While there may be potential tax inefficiencies with this method, the industry views it as a positive development. For over a decade, firms have applied for a Bitcoin ETF, but none have been approved. BlackRock's recent moves indicate that the company is making progress in aligning with the SEC's requirements, which could finally lead to an approved Bitcoin ETF.

Implications for the Crypto Market

The approval of a Bitcoin ETF by BlackRock would have significant implications for the cryptocurrency market. It is expected to attract a substantial amount of capital, as traditional investors who are interested in cryptocurrency but wary of the risks associated with direct investment would have a more regulated and familiar way to gain exposure. This could lead to increased liquidity and potentially more stability in the Bitcoin market. Moreover, the launch of a Bitcoin ETF would be a major milestone, signaling mainstream acceptance and recognition of cryptocurrencies as a legitimate asset class.

In conclusion, while the SEC has yet to give the final green light, BlackRock's recent adjustments to its Bitcoin ETF proposal are promising signs for those awaiting the integration of cryptocurrencies into traditional investment vehicles. Investors and crypto enthusiasts alike are watching closely, as the approval of a Bitcoin ETF could herald a new era for cryptocurrency investment.

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