BlackRock Advances In Bitcoin ETF Journey


BlackRock, the world’s leading asset manager, is seemingly moving closer to launching its Bitcoin ETF, sparking discussions among industry watchers about the probable positive impact this could have on cryptocurrency acceptance.

The firm’s proposed iShares Bitcoin Trust is now visibly listed on the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) website, with the assigned ticker as “IBTC”.

Eric Balchunas, a top-notch analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, highlighted that this is the inaugural listing of a spot bitcoin ETF on DTCC. For those unfamiliar, DTCC is a colossal figure in the financial market landscape, handling trillions in securities transactions every day.

Further drilling down, a DTCC offshoot, the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC), possesses a well-outlined procedure for the clearing of ETFs. This system allows for a meticulous scrutiny of the ETF’s portfolio makeup. This, in turn, smoothens out the automation for the creation and redemption of ETF shares, leading to their subsequent settlement.

DTCC has maintained a close-mouthed stance so far, not providing any comments. Meanwhile, BlackRock’s spokesperson remained tight-lipped due to certain “filing restrictions.”

This development was closely followed by BlackRock’s decision to modify its Bitcoin ETF proposition on October 18.

An associate named Scott Johnsson, from Davis Polk & Wardwell, shed light on this updated filing. It reportedly incorporated a CUSIP for the product – essentially a unique nine-digit identifier crucial for the clearance and trade settlement of any North American security.

There were other intriguing additions in the filing, like the hint about the purchase of seed creation baskets in October, although the exact dates and amounts remain unspecified.

Balchunas, in a recent post, stated, “It’s striking how BlackRock is at the forefront of these nitty-gritty details (like seeding, the ticker, and DTCC registration). It’s tough not to perceive this as an indicator that they’ve got a green light or it’s just around the corner.”

It’s worth noting, however, that BlackRock isn’t the only entity making amendments to its Bitcoin ETF applications.

On October 11, both Ark Invest and 21Shares tweaked their Bitcoin ETF filings. Analysts pinpointed several key changes, including clear statements ensuring that the trust’s assets remain separate and not mixed with corporate or other customer assets. Ark’s Chief, Cathie Wood, elucidated on these changes in a recent interview, revealing they were the outcome of interactions with the SEC.

But these aren’t the sole advancements in the ongoing Bitcoin ETF saga.

In another significant move, Grayscale recently initiated the registration of its Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) shares under the Securities Act of 1933. This is perceived as a strategic stride towards morphing the trust into an ETF. Furthermore, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed its previous stance that the SEC’s denial of GBTC’s conversion to an ETF, while giving a nod to bitcoin futures funds, lacked logical consistency.

A spokesperson from Grayscale expressed optimism about their ongoing collaboration with the SEC, emphasizing their commitment to expedite the conversion process.

To wrap things up, the developments around BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF proposition are a testament to the increasing mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies. As major financial institutions dive deeper into the crypto realm, it’s a positive sign for both the industry and investors. The convergence of traditional finance and digital currencies could well be a precursor to a future where the lines between the two blur, offering both challenges and opportunities. What’s clear is that the crypto journey is only gaining momentum, and the industry’s response to these advancements will be pivotal in shaping its future trajectory.