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BlackRock Applies For A Bitcoin ETF

While crypto continues to be attacked in every direction, the news of BlackRock’s application has sent the asset surging 15% over the past week. 

It’s been nearly 10 years since the first spot Bitcoin ETF application was filed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

At that time, BTC was trading a mere $90 and the twins hoped to launch their ETF under the ticker symbol “COIN” which was eventually claimed by Coinbase. Of course, the SEC summarily rejected the application.

Since that time, the SEC has rejected dozens of further ETF applications including a second rejection of 21Shares application and a third of Vaneck’s.

But for all of the rejection, a spot Bitcoin ETF has been the dream of crypto investors for years now. And for good reason. A spot Bitcoin ETF would allow hordes of retail and institutional investors alike to invest in Bitcoin easier, safer, and cheaper than every option currently available.

Unfortunately, although many have tried to make this dream a reality, all have failed.

But this time might be different.

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is filing for a spot Bitcoin ETF.

The iShares Bitcoin Trust

The ETF would be known as the iShares Bitcoin Trust. It’s a trust because Coinbase (COIN) would be the custodian of the trust’s underlying Bitcoin.

Now, as we said in the introduction, there has been no shortage of ETF hopefuls over the years. Grayscale, VanEck, and WisdomTree have all come up short. Why would BlackRock be any different?

There are a few possible answers to that question:

  • As the largest asset manager on the planet with more than $10 trillion in AUM, BlackRock is extremely powerful and influential.

  • CEO Larry Fink is a Democratic party kingmaker, the same party that SEC Chair Gary Gensler belongs to.

  • They’ve promised a surveillance program to prevent market manipulation, a concern that has killed prior applications.

The point of the story is that BlackRock usually gets what they want, as evidenced by their 575-1 record on ETF applications. It’s not unreasonable to assume the same will happen with their spot Bitcoin ETF.

But, whether the BlackRock ETF would actually be good for crypto depends largely on how you look at it.

The Good

While crypto continues to be attacked in every direction, the news of BlackRock’s application has sent the asset surging 15% over the past week.

Simply put, investors aren’t writing off the application as another failed attempt just yet. And if the ETF was approved, it’s possible that BlackRock does for Bitcoin what it did for gold, sending the assets $1 trillion market pre-BlackRock to a $13 trillion market post-BlackRock.

Even more so if BlackRock leads to WisdomTree and Invesco launching spot ETFs of their own.

It’s also possible that a BlackRock ETF would help solve the GBTC discount problem, which would be a welcome sight for Grayscale and their investors.

The Bad

However, the timing of the move so close to the SEC crackdown on Coinbase and Binance has some wondering whether this is all a ploy to destroy crypto exchanges in favor of more regulated entities like BlackRock. This would transform crypto from what we know today into something that more closely resembles traditional finance. There’s even a chance we end up with a regulated Bitcoin fork.

Ultimately, like most things in crypto, there’s no cookie cutter answer here. The BlackRock ETF could be simultaneously positive and negative.

What is clear is that the institutions are finally here. And, if nothing else, that’s a good thing for prices.