BlackRock, VanEck among asset managers that submitted updated filings for spot bitcoin ETF

By Suzanne McGee and Hannah Lang

(Reuters) – Asset management firms hoping to be among the first to win regulatory approval to launch exchange traded funds (ETFs) tied to the spot price of bitcoin updated their filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday and Friday, as market participants said a decision from the regulator may be imminent.

By late Friday afternoon, BlackRock Asset Management, VanEck, Valkyrie Investments, Bitwise Investment Advisers, Invesco Ltd., Fidelity, WisdomTree Investments and a joint venture between Ark Investments and 21Shares had all submitted new documents with regulators spelling out details of the arrangements each has made with their marketmakers to ensure trading is liquid and efficient.

People familiar with the filing process said issuers that met their end of the year filing revision deadlines may be able to launch by January 10 – the date by which the SEC is required to either approve or reject the Ark/21Shares ETF.

The SEC may notify issuers as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday that they have been cleared to launch the following week, said those sources, who spoke on background given the confidential nature of the discussions.

Bitcoin’s price has more than doubled this year to just under $42,000, fueled in part by expectations that the SEC will soon approve a spot bitcoin ETF.

If regulators opt to approve the spot bitcoin ETFs, they could then inform issuers as early as next week.

Valkyrie also disclosed in its filing that it would levy a management fee of 0.80% on the ETF, should the SEC approve the products early in the new year. Ark and 21Shares had previously disclosed they proposed to charge the same fee on their own ETF.

The Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund is poised to be the least expensive, levying fees of only 0.39%.

Invesco announced plans for a 0.59% fee, but added in its filing that it would waive that fee for six months on the first $5 billion in assets the new fund attracts.

There are currently a total of 14 asset managers hoping to finally win SEC approval for spot bitcoin ETFs. Over the last decade, the U.S. securities regulator has rejected multiple attempts to launch these products, citing fears about market manipulation and an inability on the part of would-be issuers to protect investors. To date, the only cryptocurrency ETFs approved have been tied to futures contracts on bitcoin and ethereum, which are traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Grayscale Investments and Hashdex, both of which hope to convert existing products into spot bitcoin ETFs, submitted their own updates earlier this month.

The SEC didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Suzanne McGee and Hannah Lang; Editing by Ira Iosebashvili and Diane Craft)