As soon as January, a Bitcoin spot ETF could be live in the U.S. – but while that much appears likely, it remains to be seen which specific investment vehicles will be approved.
Indeed, in advance of the January 10 deadline, anticipation is high, with over 12 applicants ranging from disruptive Bitcoin companies to some of the most well-known names in global finance.
The prize is the potential to provide investors with a regulated and accessible vehicle to the world's leading cryptocurrency.
Unlike traditional investment routes, such as direct ownership or futures trading, a Bitcoin ETF simplifies the process, allowing a broader range of investors, both institutional and retail, to participate in the crypto market.
This article delves into the intense competition among prominent players in the financial industry as they seek approval for the first Bitcoin spot ETF in the U.S.
A subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (DCG), a global enterprise that invests in and develops businesses focused on blockchains and cryptocurrencies, Grayscale offers investment products that provide exposure to various cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others.
Since 2013, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is a financial product offered by Grayscale Investments that has been one of the only ways for institutions to invest in Bitcoin.
GBTC is a publicly traded trust that holds Bitcoin, and its shares are traded on over-the-counter (OTC) markets. The trust provides a way for investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin without having to buy and store the cryptocurrency directly.
Among its owners are Ark Invest, a fellow ETF applicant.
21Shares is a Swiss-based company that specializes in providing investment products focused on digital assets.
Formerly known as Amun AG, the company rebranded to 21Shares in February 2021. Amun was founded in 2018 by a team of financial professionals, including Hany Rashwan and Ophelia Snyder, and it is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland.
Since then it has operated a series of exchange-traded products tracking various cryptocurrencies. These ETPs are traded on traditional stock exchanges, providing investors with a convenient way to gain exposure to digital assets.
21Shares offers a range of ETPs, including Bitcoin (ABTC), Ethereum (AETH), Ripple (AXRP), and the 21Shares Crypto Basket Index ETP, offering exposure to a diversified portfolio of cryptos.
21Shares' ETPs are listed on various traditional stock exchanges, making them accessible to a broader range of investors through regular brokerage accounts.
ARK Invest is an investment management firm known for its active and innovative approach to investing in disruptive technologies.
Founded by Cathie Wood in 2014, ARK Invest has since gained widespread recognition for its focus on disruptive innovation and thematic investing. It remains a notable early backer of both Bitcoin and Tesla, wildly successful contrarian bets.
ARK Invest was founded by Wood in 2014 and manages a series of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that align with its unique approach.
Some of the flagship ETFs include ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK), ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG), and ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW).
ARK Invest actively manages its portfolios, making strategic investment decisions based on its research and analysis of disruptive trends.
Notably, its funds were some of the first to offer exposure to GBTC when it in 2015 it was available on OTC exchanges.
Wood, in particular, is on the record as predicting Bitcoin will come to be worth over $1 million over the coming decade.
BlackRock is the world's largest investment management firm with trillions of dollars under management.
Founded in 1988 as a risk management and fixed income outfit, it has since evolved into a global investment management giant with a comprehensive suite of financial services for institutional investors, financial professionals, and individual investors.
BlackRock is primarily known for its asset management business, offering a wide range of investment products, including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and institutional separate accounts. The firm covers various asset classes, from equities and fixed income to alternatives and multi-asset strategies.
Notably, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has been dismissive of Bitcoin in the past, criticizing the nascent technology and its links to dark market-based criminal activity.
However, this only made the news it would launch a Bitcoin ETF in 2023 more impactful, with Fink making clear he believes the only decentralized cryptocurrency has stood the test of time.
Bitwise Asset Management is a cryptocurrency investment firm that specializes in crypto-based investment funds.
Founded in 2017 by Hunter Horsley and Hong Kim, Bitwise aims to provide institutional and individual investors with exposure to digital assets. Its flagship fund is the Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Fund, which tracks a diverse basket of the ten largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.
This fund offers investors a way to gain exposure to a broad range of digital assets in a single investment.
Bitwise actively manages the fund by regularly rebalancing its holdings to reflect changes in the market and ensure alignment with the fund's investment strategy.
Bitwise is known for its research efforts, providing insights into the cryptocurrency market. Further, it has been perhaps the only Bitcoin ETF applicant to launch an ad campaign that was been wildly successful, with the company hiring the former Dos Equis spokesperson, known as "The Most Interesting Man in the World."
VanEck is a global investment management firm founded in 1955 by John C. van Eck in New York City.
Initially, the firm focused on managing gold investments, but over the years, it has expanded its offerings to include a diverse range of asset classes and investment strategies.
The firm provides a variety of investment products, including mutual funds, ETFs, and other investment vehicles, but is known for specializing in commodity investing.
VanEck first filed for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in 2017, and has since been one of the most active Wall Street firms in the quest to have the investment product approved.
WisdomTree Investments is a global asset management company that offers a range of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), exchange-traded products (ETPs), and other investment solutions.
Founded in 2006 by Jonathan Steinberg, the goal of the company was to create innovative investment products for investors seeking exposure to various asset classes including equities, fixed income, currencies, and alternative strategies.
WisdomTree has shown interest in the cryptocurrency space, particularly Bitcoin. The company has submitted regulatory filings for Bitcoin-related exchange-traded products (ETPs).
WisdomTree's involvement in Bitcoin ETFs is part of its broader exploration of digital assets and blockchain technology.
Invesco Ltd. is a global investment management company with a diverse range of financial products and services.
Founded in 1935, Invesco has grown into a global investment management firm with a presence in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and other regions.
Invesco provides a wide array of investment products and services, including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), separately managed accounts, and institutional strategies.
Since 2021, Invesco has offered Invesco Physical Bitcoin, a physically backed ETP out of Switzerland, and is currently vying to launch a Bitcoin ETF.
For the Bitcoin ETF in the US, it has notably teamed with Galaxy Digital Holdings, a publicly listed financial services and investment management firm focused on cryptocurrency.
Founded by former hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz, Galaxy Digital aims to be a bridge between traditional finance and the emerging world of digital assets.
Galaxy's research firm has estimated the addressable market for the ETF in the billions.
Fidelity Investments is a leading financial services company based in the United States, and one of the largest privately owned and operated firms on Wall Street.
Fidelity was founded in 1946, and is known for its focus on investment management, retirement planning, wealth management, life insurance, and other financial services.
However, the company is best known for mutual fund offerings, offering a wide range of funds covering various asset classes, investment styles, and strategies.
Fidelity has been interested in the digital asset space since 2013, when its R&D divisions began mining Bitcoin, its CEO Abigail Johnson saying famously in 2017 that she "loves" Bitcoin.
Since then, the company has been active in the industry. Fidelity Digital Assets provides secure custody solutions for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, catering to institutional clients looking to include digital assets in their portfolios.
Valkyrie Investments is a financial services firm specializing in investment management in the digital asset space.
Founded in 2020 and based in the United States, the company has created funds and vehicles that provide exposure to digital assets, such as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Valkyrie Investments has submitted proposals for a Bitcoin ETF, awaiting approval from the SEC.
Global X ETFs is a well-known provider of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with a focus on thematic investing.
Thematic ETFs are designed to track specific investment themes or trends, providing investors with targeted exposure to particular sectors or industries.
Global X ETFs covers a wide range of themes, including AI, renewable energy, e-commerce, and more.
Hashdex is a crypto-focused asset management company that specializes in creating investment products centered around digital assets.
The company was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Brazil. It primarily focuses on managing investment products related to cryptocurrencies. The company aims to provide investors with exposure to digital assets through regulated and structured investment vehicles.
Franklin Templeton is a global investment management firm with a long history and a diverse range of investment products and services. Founded in 1947, it has grown into one of the world's leading investment management companies.
Franklin Templeton operates globally, with a presence in over 165 countries. The firm has a network of offices and investment professionals around the world.
The Wall Street giant offers a wide array of investment products, including mutual funds, closed-end funds, separately managed accounts, and more. The firm covers various asset classes, such as equities, fixed income, alternatives, and multi-asset strategies.
One of the later entrants into the Bitcoin spot ETF race, Franklin Templeton is not particularly well-known for ETFs. As such, its inclusion in the race is widely seen as a sign of strong Wall Street appetite for a Bitcoin spot ETF product offering.