Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management is lending its name to the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).
21Shares US LLC, an affiliate of Zug, Switzerland-based 21Shares AG, is sponsoring the proposed ETF, with Ark providing marketing assistance. Trading under ARKB, the ETF will track the performance of bitcoin as measured by the S&P Bitcoin Index.
ETF analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence Eric Balchunas said this made sense, because Wood is on the board of 21Shares. “This gives 21Shares penetration in the U.S. and it’s on-brand for Ark given how vocal and bullish they’ve been on crypto,” he said.
Earlier this month, 21Shares become one of the first firms to list a crypto-based exchange-traded product (ETP) on a U.K. exchange. 21Shares launched its Bitcoin ETP on the UK’s Aquis Exchange. Engineered like an exchange-traded fund, the ETP will be centrally cleared.
This came a week after ETC Group launched its own bitcoin ETP on the Aquis Exchange. However, it did this only after being denied listing on the London Stock Exchange, because its clearinghouse didn’t accept crypto products.
Bitcoin ETFs in the US
Yet, as much difficulty as ETPs are having being listed in Britain, they are still further along than in the U.S. This new 21Shares ETF adds to the growing list of applicants to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). So far, at least 14 issuers have filed for a Bitcoin or futures ETF. This includes the likes of Fidelity Investments, Grayscale Investments, and WisdomTree Investments. However, the SEC has yet to approve a single one.
In April, the SEC was expected to make a decision regarding VanEck’s bitcoin ETF application. However, after delaying the decision until June, the SEC recently declared requiring another extension until at least July. The SEC also said it would seek public comments on the proposal to list the product prepared by Cboe Global Markets.
Craig Sal, vice-president of legal at Grayscale, a bitcoin trust provider, has his own thoughts about SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s current approach. He believes Gensler is approaching the TF approval process as a means of gaining more oversight over crypto exchanges. “Gensler wants to see regulation there, and if that happens, it seems like that would be what the SEC needs in order to approve a bitcoin ETF,” he said.
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