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BlackRock Preps for Bitcoin ETF Launch, Lines Up Seed Investor and Reveals Ticker

Blackrock logo with Bitcoin ETF text in picture.

BlackRock’s Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) might be close to launching. A ticker for the iShares Bitcoin Trust, IBTC, has been listed by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC).

The DTCC is a massive piece of behind-the-scenes infrastructure in U.S. financial markets. It handles an astounding $2.3 quadrillion—that’s $1 billion times $2.3 million—worth of stock sales annually. Which makes it the largest financial clearinghouse in the world. Senior Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Eric Balchunas made note of the update on Twitter.

This follows news last week that the fund manager’s latest application amendment shows that a seed investor could be funding the product this month.

In a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week, the world’s biggest fund manager said the seed capital investor had planned to buy shares in October.

The exact date had been redacted from the amendment. The visible part of the amendment reveals that the seed capital investor would buy this month.

A seed capital investor initially funds an ETF to get it off the ground and trading on a stock exchange.

BlackRock, which manages $9.5 trillion in assets, last week filed its amendment to the SEC. Applications for ETFs go through a number of drafts. Which usually get amended and re-filed after feedback from the commission, before they’re officially approved or rejected.

BlackRock’s seed capital investor section in the filing does not mean that the ETF will necessarily launch this month—or even next month. But experts spoke about the changes on Twitter.

Balchunas said the section was “noteworthy” after general partner at Van Buren Capital Scott Johnsson noted the change. Claiming BlackRock “may be looking to seed with cash this month.”

An ETF is an investment vehicle that allows investors to buy shares that track the underlying price of an asset. A Bitcoin ETF would allow investors to get exposure to Bitcoin without having to deal with a crypto exchange or storing the digital coin themselves.

Regulators have given the green light to Bitcoin futures ETFs which trade contracts betting on the future price of cryptocurrency but have rejected spot products.

Experts now think that a Bitcoin ETF could get approved very soon. With some analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence saying that there is a 90% chance one will get approved in January.

Wall Street giant BlackRock applied for a Bitcoin ETF back in June. Sending the price of the biggest cryptocurrency by market cap soaring. The firm’s CEO Larry Fink has since said that Bitcoin is an “international asset” and spoke of how crypto is “digitizing gold.”

Other major Wall Street players like VanEck, WisdomTree, and Valkyrie have also applied to the top regulator for such an investment vehicle.

Some analysts have said that the approval of such a product would send the asset’s price flying as new capital enters the crypto market. Others are more skeptical: crypto spot crypto ETFs already exist in Europe and Canada and haven’t led to a huge influx of money into the space.

Bitcoin is currently trading for over $31,000 per coin, according to CoinGecko. That’s nearly a 4% 24-hour rise. The asset is up significantly since the start of the year—when it was trading for $16,615. But still 55% lower than the all-time high of $69,044 it touched in November 2021.

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