BlackRock refiles for spot Bitcoin ETF


July 4, 2023


Olumide Adesina

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BlackRock has filed a new application for a Bitcoin spot market ETF after reports that the SEC found flaws in the original application. If successful, it will be the first Bitcoin spot ETF to receive approval.

After regulators expressed concerns about the first attempt, BlackRock filed an exchange-traded fund amendment application to focus on the Bitcoin spot market.

In a new filing filed by the Nasdaq exchange on behalf of the company, BlackRock said it was seeking to address one of the major objections the SEC has previously filed in denying its application for a Bitcoin spot ETF, said it will sign a surveillance contract with Coinbase.

“The Spot BTC SSA is expected to be a bilateral surveillance agreement between Nasdaq and Coinbase and is designed to complement the exchange’s market surveillance program,” the application reads. BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, filed for registration of a spot Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday afternoon.  BlackRock, which had $9.5 trillion in assets under management as of the first quarter of 2023, has partnered with Coinbase, the most valuable crypto exchange in the United States.

The proposed ETF will rely on Coinbase, the largest US cryptocurrency exchange, for pricing and spot market data. Coinbase also reached an agreement to offer a similar service to Fidelity, which is exploring its own Bitcoin spot ETF.  Bitcoin prices skyrocketed after it was announced that BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager with $9.5 trillion in assets under management as of the first quarter of 2023, had applied for an ETF.

The upward trend was so strong that the market ignored a Wall Street Journal report on June 30 that the SEC had found BlackRock's filing unsatisfactory.

It didn't take long for the warning to resonate industry-wide, as exchange operator Cboe quickly changed its spot ETF application on behalf of Fidelity on the same day as the WSJ report.

It has been challenging to register a Bitcoin ETF with the SEC, especially for funds that trade on the spot market. Due to worries about the possibility of fraud and market manipulation, the SEC has not yet authorized any applications for Bitcoin spot ETFs. In contrast, four Bitcoin ETFs have received SEC approval for futures trading.

An ETF is a type of investment product tied to commodities, currencies, stocks, and bonds. This allows investors to participate without actually owning a particular asset.