Bitcoin ETF Nears Reality After Nasdaq Trade Clearing Firm Listing

The iShares Bitcoin Trust, a proposed exchange-traded fund (ETF) by investment giant BlackRock, has taken a significant step forward by being listed on the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) website. The fund is set to trade under the ticker symbol IBTC.

This development marks a milestone in the journey towards regulatory approval for a spot Bitcoin ETF, and experts are viewing it as a positive sign. Eric Balchunas, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, commented on this achievement, stating, “This is the first spot ETF listed on DTCC, none of the others are on there (yet).”

He went on to highlight BlackRock’s leading role in the process, noting that the logistics of seeding, choosing a ticker, and listing on DTCC typically occur just before the ETF’s launch. Balchunas also suggested that this move could indicate that BlackRock has received or anticipates SEC approval for the ETF.

Scott Johnsson, an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell, noted that BlackRock’s recent amendment to its S-1 filing included a CUSIP, a code required for the identification and clearing of North American securities. The filing also mentioned that seed creation baskets were to be purchased in October “subject to conditions,” although it did not specify a date or amount.

Other players in the crypto ETF space have also made adjustments to their applications in anticipation of potential approval. Ark Invest and 21Shares updated their bitcoin ETF filing, clarifying that the trust’s assets would not be commingled with corporate or other customer assets.

Grayscale, the company behind the Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), has taken a different approach. They recently filed to register shares of GBTC under the Securities Act of 1933, a step towards converting the trust into an ETF. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals reinforced its earlier ruling that the SEC’s rejection of the GBTC conversion to an ETF, while approving bitcoin futures funds, was “arbitrary and capricious.” Grayscale expressed its intent to work closely with the SEC to expedite the conversion process.

If BlackRock’s application is approved, it could pave the way for other spot crypto ETF filings currently under SEC review, including those from ARK Investment, Fidelity, and Valkyrie. The SEC has not yet approved a spot Bitcoin or Ether ETF for listing on a U.S. exchange, although it began allowing investment vehicles tied to Bitcoin futures in October 2021.

As the crypto market continues to evolve, the listing of BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust on the DTCC website is seen as a significant step toward the eventual approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF in the United States. The SEC’s final decision on BlackRock’s application is expected by January 10, 2024.

The Bitcoin ETF has been recently in the news after news site Cointelegraph reported on X (fka Twitter) that the SEC had given its approval for Blackrock’s iShares spot Bitcoin ETF even if the regulatory hasn’t. The unverified news quickly ignited a market frenzy, causing Bitcoin’s value to surge by more than 10% against the U.S. dollar.

Information for this briefing was found via Blockworks, Cointelegraph, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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