BlackRock, VanEck among asset managers to submit updated applications for bitcoin spot ETFs

Asset managers hoping to be among the first to win approval to launch exchange-traded funds (ETFs) pegged to the spot price of bitcoin updated their filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday and Friday, with market participants believing a decision from a regulatory body could be within reach.

By late Friday afternoon, BlackRock Asset Management, VanEck, Valkyrie Investments, Bitwise Investment Advisers, Invesco Ltd, Fidelity, WisdomTree Investments and a joint venture between Ark Investments and 21Shares had filed new documents with regulators detailing arrangements between them and their market makers to they ensured liquidity and trading efficiency.

People familiar with the filing process said issuers who met year-end filing review deadlines may be able to launch ETFs by Jan. 10, when the SEC must approve or reject the Ark/21Shares ETF.

The SEC could tell issuers as early as Tuesday or Wednesday that they have been approved to launch ETFs next week, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the discussions.

The price of bitcoin has more than doubled this year to just under $42,000, fueled in part by hopes that the SEC will soon approve a bitcoin spot ETF.

If regulators decide to approve a bitcoin spot ETF, they could notify issuers as early as next week.

Valkyrie also said in its filing that it will charge an ETF management fee of 0.80% if the SEC approves the products early next year. Ark and 21Shares have previously announced their intention to charge the same fee on their own ETFs.

The cheapest should be the Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund with fees of only 0.39%.

Invesco said it plans to charge a fee of 0.59%, but added in its filing that it would waive that fee for six months on the first $5 billion in assets the new fund attracts.

Currently, a total of 14 asset managers are hoping to finally get SEC approval for Bitcoin ETFs. Over the past decade, the U.S. securities regulator has rejected several attempts to bring these products to market, citing concerns about market manipulation and potential issuers’ failure to protect investors. To date, the only approved cryptocurrency ETFs are linked to bitcoin and ethereum futures, which are traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Grayscale Investments and Hashdex, both of which hope to convert existing products into spot bitcoin ETFs, submitted their own updates earlier this month.

The SEC did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (Reporting by Suzanne McGee and Hannah Lang; Writing by Ira Iosebashvili and Diane Craft)

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