The investment firm withdrew its application for a physically-backed Bitcoin ETF in 2020, but has already received approval for a fund offering investors exposure to companies in the blockchain and crypto industry.
After almost two years, Bitwise Asset Management has once again applied with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to create a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund.
In an Oct. 14 Twitter announcement from Bitwise chief investment officer Matt Hougan, the investment firm will be pursuing a Bitcoin (BTC) ETF with NYSE Arca that holds “actual BTC,” and not derivatives or other indirect exposure to cryptocurrencies. According to Hougan, the Bitwise team has spent more than two years analyzing the firm’s ability to “surveil and enforce” any attempts at manipulation and concluded that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, or CME, is a “regulated market of significant size” for the crypto market.
“The market has matured,” said the Bitwise CIO. “An actual BTC ETF can now be approved.”
The company’s filing with the SEC shows it plans to register 1,000 shares of its Bitwise Bitcoin ETP Trust with a proposed maximum offering price of $25. The SEC filing states the company will use the CME U.S. Reference Rate as a price reference for Bitcoin in the trust.
Bitwise first applied for a Bitcoin ETF registration with the SEC in January 2019. The regulator rejected the proposal in October 2019, but later said it would be reviewing its decision. Bitwise withdrew its application the following year after the SEC essentially kept the proposal on standby. At the time, Hougan said Bitwise planned to refile “at an appropriate time” after the firm had addressed some of the agency’s concerns in the initial filing.
Though Bitwise has not refiled its application with the SEC for an exchange-traded fund with direct exposure to Bitcoin since that 2020 withdrawal, the company did launch a Crypto Industry Innovators ETF in May, which offers investors exposure to some of the biggest publicly listed firms operating in the blockchain and crypto industry. The fund was based on Bitwise’s Crypto Industry Innovators 30 Index, which tracks top firms “engaged in actual, material activity in the crypto sector.”
Though SEC Gary Gensler has hinted that he would be more open to accepting ETFs based on crypto futures rather than through direct exposure, the U.S. regulatory agency has yet to approve any application for a physically-backed BTC ETF. Last week, however, the SEC did approve an application for the Volt Crypto Industry Revolution and Tech ETF, which provides investors with access to companies with significant exposure to Bitcoin.