BlackRock Reportedly Filing for Bitcoin ETF

World’s biggest asset manager said to be working with Coinbase, CoinDesk says.

RonDay
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Managing Editor
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Reviewed by: Lisa Barr
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Edited by: Sean Allocca

BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest exchange-traded fund issuer, is reportedly close to filing for permission to offer a bitcoin ETF in partnership with cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc.  

BlackRock, also the world’s biggest asset manager, would use Coinbase for spot market pricing and the company’s Custody system for storage, the crypto news site CoinDesk reported, citing a source familiar with the matter. Whether the proposed ETF would be a spot fund tracking the price of bitcoin, or one that invests in bitcoin futures, wasn’t immediately clear. 

A handful of bitcoin ETFs currently trade, and several more companies have sought permission to offer them this year, although spot bitcoin ETFs are not permitted and regulators are increasingly cracking down on crypto platforms and brokers, including Coinbase.  

The SEC earlier this month sued Coinbase, the largest U.S. crypto platform, and Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, leveling a variety of charges including operating as an unregistered securities exchange. 

At least one industry expert cast doubt on the CoinDesk report, calling it “back-alley type speculation.” 

“I'm still skeptical they'd file for physical or futures at this time,” Bloomberg Senior ETF Analyst Eric Balchunas tweeted. “While [possible], it would be out of character.” 

BlackRock currently operates an ETF that invests in bitcoin’s supporting technology, the iShares Blockchain and Tech ETF (IBLC). It’s soared 77% this year. 

Coinbase declined to comment to etf.com. BlackRock didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.  

Despite the lawsuits, crypto and blockchain ETFs have been among the best-performing funds this year. The Global X Blockchain ETF (BKCH) has more than doubled since the year began, while the First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy ETF (CRPT) has added 46%.  

At the same time, firms are seeking permission to issue new bitcoin ETFs. Most notable has been Grayscale Investment’s effort to create the first spot bitcoin ETF, which has been blocked by the SEC.  

New York-based BlackRock currently employs Coinbase to provide institutional clients of its Aladdin investment management platform, with services including crypto trading and storage, under terms of a deal announced in August.  

After that deal, BlackRock told etf.com sister publication ETF Stream that it has “no plans” to launch either a crypto ETP or ETF, and the company “has not filed an application” for such as product. 

 

Contact Ron Day at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @RonDayETF  

Ron Day is Managing Editor at etf.com. He joined the company in October 2022 and previously served as editor and deputy managing editor.

Ron covered business and financial news at Bloomberg News for 20 years, working on the breaking news, technology, commodities, headlines and First Word teams. He was previously senior editor at ESG news outlet Karma Impact and filled the same role at Boundless Impact. He also covered a variety of beats at New Jersey daily papers including the Daily Record in Parsippany, the North Jersey Herald & News and the Asbury Park Press. Ron's freelance work has been published in AARP.com, Investopedia.com and BigThink.com.

Ron is an advocate and fan of literacy. He hopes to one day master his Telecaster, rather than the other way around. His wonderful family includes a 10-lb. malti-poo named Emmy.