BlackRock, Ark Fees Listed in Fresh Spot Bitcoin ETF Amendments

Bitcoin jumps 6% as final additions made ahead of Jan. 10 deadline for SEC approval.

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Finance Reporter
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Reviewed by: etf.com Staff
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Edited by: Ron Day

BlackRock Inc., ARK/21Shares and other spot bitcoin ETF hopefuls filed fresh amendments to their applications today as the Securities and Exchange Commission’s deadline to approve or deny the exchange-traded funds approaches.

BlackRock, the world’s biggest ETF issuer, listed in its filing a management fee of 0.20%, undercutting the expenses proposed by rivals last week. ARK/21Shares, in their joint proposal, slashed their fee to 0.25% from 0.80%. BlackRock's fee jumps to 0.30% after 12 month or $5 billion.

Fidelity Investments, Invesco Ltd. and Wisdom Tree Inc. were also among the companies filing updates to their S-1 applications ahead of the SEC’s Jan. 10 deadline to render a decision on permitting the ETF, which would come more than 10 years after the first effort was made to create such an investment vehicle.  

“This morning was wild for Bitcoin ETF filers,” Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart wrote on X/Twitter. Speaking on Bloomberg Radio, Seyffart said the proposed fees were "way lower than what I was expecting.” 

Bitcoin Jumps; Spot Bitcoin ETF Applications Amended

The updates boosted speculation that final approval is all but a done deal, despite an analyst note last week that the SEC will reject the applications. Bitcoin surged during the day, jumping 6.3% in the afternoon to surpass $47,000. 

“We still won't go to 100% odds until SEC makes it official (just like ESPN won't go to 100% winning chance until game is literally over regardless of score),” Bloomberg analyst Eric Balchunas tweeted

Investors currently are permitted to buy cryptocurrency ETFs that track futures contracts, and the SEC has been skeptical that funds owning bitcoin directly would have the ability to protect investors from fraud. Yet after Grayscale Investments won a watershed lawsuit against the SEC in late August when an appeals court rule the agency was wrong to deny Grayscale’s conversion of their Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an ETF, the agency began working with firms to move along their applications towards potential approval. 

Applicants added so-called surveillance-sharing agreements last year protections, aimed at allaying the SEC’s concerns about fraud and market manipulation.  

Still, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler reiterated his cautionary opinions about crypto in a post on Twitter/X titled "Some things to keep in mind if you're considering investing in crypto assets." Among other cautions, he warned "Investments in crypto assets can be exceptionally risky."

Issuers Said To Expect Approval Tuesday or Wednesday

For the funds to begin officially trading, two divisions of the SEC must approve the 19b-4 rule changes which are filed by the exchanges, and the S-1 documents that include the details and structure of each firm’s fund. Multiple issuers told Reuters that they expect to receive final approval by late Tuesday or Wednesday.

“Once we have both the 19b4 approved and S-1 are effective, within 24 hours these things are going to begin trading,” Seyffart said on Bloomberg Radio, adding that trading may begin as soon as late this week or early next.

Key Wall Street players have been listed as authorized participants as part of “AP” agreements in the filings. These firms will both provide capital and redeem shares of the funds. Jane Street, JPMorgan, and Virtu Americas have all been named as APs.

Lucy Brewster is a finance reporter at etf.com covering asset managers, emerging technologies, and regulation. She hosts etf.com webinars and appears on Exchange Traded Fridays, etf.com’s flagship podcast. She previously was a finance fellow at Fortune Magazine where she covered markets, investment strategy, and venture capital. She has also been a freelancer writer at the publication Mergers & Acquisitions and a research fellow at the Historic Hudson Valley. 

She graduated from Vassar College in 2022 with a degree in History and was an editor of The Miscellany News, the college's award winning student run newspaper. 

Lucy lives in Brooklyn, NY, and in her free time she loves to run and find new recipes to cook.