Bitcoin ($BTC) has surged by over 13% in the past day, rocketing to its highest price in nearly 18-months. It comes as a leading investment firm BlackRock has made progress with its iShares spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).
The ETF, with its proposed ticker symbol of IBTC, has recently been listed on the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC).
This move is often made before official approval by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and suggests that the ETF is progressing through the necessary regulatory stages for its ultimate introduction to the market.
If BlackRock’s fund gets approval from the SEC, it would be the first spot Bitcoin ETF to enter the market.
Is a BlackRock BTC ETF imminent?
On 23 October, Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas discussed the development in an X (formerly Twitter) thread, explaining that listing with the DTCC is a standard procedure in the ETF launch process.
Balchunas hinted that BlackRock might have received approval from the SEC or is at least operating under that assumption.
A listing on the DTCC hints that the fund will go live on NASDAQ as an approval from the financial corporation is necessary to launch on the stock exchange .
BlackRock has also indicated in its recent filing with the SEC that it aims to fund its Bitcoin ETF this month.
However, Balchunas warned: “Seeding is typically not a lot of money just enough to get ETF going. So I wouldn’t read this as ‘omg Blackrock is buying a ton of bitcoin’ at all but more the fact they doing it and disclosing it shows another step in the process of launching.”
According to the official timeline, the SEC has until 10 January 2024, to decide whether to approve or deny the ETF.
Balchunas recognised: “Def notable BlackRock is leading charge on these logistics (seeding, ticker, dtcc) that tend to happen just prior to launch. Hard not to view this as them getting signal that approval is certain/imminent.”
Market Impact and Regulatory Challenges
If the SEC approves BlackRock’s ETF, it could set a precedent for other spot cryptocurrency ETFs awaiting the commission’s review, including those from ARK Investment, Fidelity, and Valkyrie.
It could also have implications for the Bitcoin market. Just the BlackRock listing was followed by a significant surge in BTC. At the time of writing, the largest cryptocurrency is up 13.4% in the past 24 hours and 21% in the previous seven days.
Despite the anticipation, the SEC has not yet approved any spot Bitcoin or Ether ETFs for listing on U.S. exchanges.
Recent Court Mandate Influences SEC Stance
The BlackRock news follows a U.S. appellate court recently issuing a mandate on the Grayscale Investments’ ETF, enforcing a decision from 29 August. This ruling required the SEC to revaluate its previous denial of Grayscale’s spot BTC ETF application.
The decision was seen as bullish by many within the crypto community.
After the mandate, Grayscale submitted a formal request on 19 October to the SEC to list shares of its Bitcoin ETF on the New York Stock Exchange Arca, using the ticker symbol GBTC.