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  • Writer's pictureJamal Saafir

BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF Approved, BUT That’s Only Phase 1

According to a report from Cointelegraph, The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accepted BlackRock’s application for a spot Bitcoin ETF or exchange-traded fund.

The SEC’s approval is the precursor to the official review process for BlackRock’s ETF proposal. Though the first step in a process involving many steps to regulatory establishment, the approval suggests the SEC’s willingness to explore the idea of a Bitcoin ETF and evaluate its potential effect on the market.

Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are investment funds that usually follow specific indexes and are commonly traded on exchanges. In regard to cryptocurrencies, a fund that reflects the value of one or multiple digital tokens and is made up of a variety of cryptocurrencies is known as a cryptocurrency ETF.

On Friday, July 14th, the SEC announced that it is undertaking the review of applications for several funds, including WisdomTree, Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust, VanEck and Invesco Galaxy.

BlackRock’s foray into the spot Bitcoin ETF race is noteworthy due to its caliber in the finance industry.

According to a report from Decrypt, when the SEC suggested that BlackRock's previous application was void of sufficient clarity, the company filed a revision of their application, this time including a "surveillance-sharing" clause that would involve Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange monitoring and reporting possible illegal activity. Fidelity, Valkyrie, and ARK Invest, followed suit and updated their applications with the same “surveillance-sharing agreement” provision as well.

A surveillance-sharing agreement (SSA) pertains to information that is distributed to regulators in attempts to avoid possible market manipulation. This encompasses trading activity, clearing activity, and customer identification. The SEC has been steadfast that none of the applicants have shown that they can sufficiently shield investors from manipulative tactics.

Previously denied or pending applications had not included SSAs, which many took notice of when BlockRock included an SSA in its most recent and approved ETF filing. Whether the industry views it favorably because of its monetary stature, or due to the surveillance-sharing agreement is speculative at present.

The competition among companies to be the first to launch a Bitcoin ETF in the United States is considered by many to be a good development for the crypto industry. With multiple filings, the likelihood of success increases, with diverse proposals allowing the Securities and Exchange Commision to analyze different strategies and concerns.

The SEC has not yet approved a Bitcoin ETF in the United States; however, in Canada, the financial product is currently available. Three funds of significance: Purpose Bitcoin, 3iQ CoinShares and CI Galaxy Bitcoin, have been approved by regulators in the country.

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