BlockFi Files For Spot Bitcoin ETF

November 09, 2021

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Crypto trading and lending platform BlockFi joined the race for the first U.S.-listed spot bitcoin ETF Tuesday. The company, which offers crypto interest accounts, trading accounts and asset-backed loans, filed a prospectus for the BlockFi NB Bitcoin ETF, a fund that would directly own bitcoin.

The SEC has so far declined to approve spot bitcoin ETFs, though it finally did allow the bitcoin futures-based ETFs ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) and Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BTF) to debut last month.

BITO, the first to launch, has been a sensation, picking up $1.3 billion in assets in less than a month. BTF, the second mover, hasn’t been nearly as successful, but it still has a respectable $50 million in assets under management.

For its part, BlockFi filed to launch a bitcoin futures ETF of its own in October, the BlockFi Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BBBB). That ETF would automatically become effective on Dec. 22, based on current ETF listing rules.

Neither of these products is unique—there is a plethora of spot and futures bitcoin ETFs awaiting approval—but BlockFi has an existing consumer base that it can potentially market these funds to.

BlockFi’s distribution advantage may help offset its late entry into the space. The aforementioned BITO currently dominates the bitcoin futures ETF segment, while the VanEck Bitcoin Trust, a spot ETF, could launch as soon as next week if the SEC approves it.

If it were to launch next week, the VanEck product would have a massive first-mover advantage in the spot bitcoin ETF category. On the other hand, an SEC rejection would dim hopes that any spot bitcoin ETF will come to market in the near future.

Email Sumit Roy at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @sumitroy2

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