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    BlackRock Spearheading Bitcoin ETFs as the World’s Largest Asset Manager

    BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with over $10 trillion in assets under management as of 2021, has been actively exploring the cryptocurrency space for several years​1​. The company has shown a keen interest in crypto assets, particularly Bitcoin, and has taken various initiatives to offer its clients exposure to this emerging asset class.

    Bitcoin ETF

    One of the most significant developments in BlackRock’s crypto journey has been its recent interest in launching a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). According to a June 2023 report, BlackRock is reportedly preparing to file an application for a Bitcoin ETF, potentially partnering with Coinbase Custody for the ETF, using the exchange’s spot market data for pricing​2​. The type of ETF – whether it will be a Bitcoin spot or futures ETF – is yet to be confirmed​2​.

    This is not the first time BlackRock has dipped its toes into the crypto space. The asset manager has previously launched blockchain-related ETFs in the U.S., such as the iShares Blockchain and Tech ETF in April 2022. This ETF tracks the investment results of an index composed of U.S. and non-U.S. companies involved in the development, innovation, and utilization of blockchain and crypto technologies​2​.

    BlackRock also made strides on the international stage with the launch of the iShares Blockchain Technology UCITS ETF in September 2022. This ETF is designed to track the NYSE FactSet Global Blockchain Technologies Capped index and offers exposure to blockchain and crypto companies for users in Europe​2​.

    However, getting a Bitcoin-related ETF approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proven difficult for many companies. The SEC has so far rejected more than a dozen spot Bitcoin ETFs, while Bitcoin Futures ETFs have seen more success​2​.

    Private Trusts for Bitcoin Exposure

    In addition to its ETF efforts, BlackRock has also explored other avenues to offer its clients exposure to Bitcoin. In August 2023, BlackRock partnered with Coinbase to launch a private trust offering U.S.-based institutional clients exposure to spot Bitcoin through Coinbase Prime Services. The firm later launched another private trust that offers institutional clients in the U.S. direct exposure to Bitcoin. These trusts were launched without the need for approval from regulators as they do not solicit investments from retail investors​2​.

    Historical Involvement in Government and Economy

    BlackRock’s interest in cryptocurrencies is particularly notable given the company’s history and scale. It is known for hiring many former government officials into senior roles, which brings a wealth of experience and policy insight to the firm​1​. During the 2020 pandemic, BlackRock played a significant role in assisting the Federal Reserve with an emergency asset-purchasing program​1​.

    References:

    [1] BlackRock oversees $10 trillion, making it the largest money manager in the world.source

    [2] BlackRock is reportedly preparing to file an application for a Bitcoin ETF.source

    [3] BlackRock is reportedly preparing to file for a Bitcoin ETF.source

    [4] BlackRock has previously launched private trusts in partnership with Coinbase, offering exposure to Bitcoin.source

    [5] BlackRock has launched the iShares Blockchain and Tech ETF and the iShares Blockchain Technology UCITS ETF.source

    [6] BlackRock has launched the iShares Blockchain and Tech ETF.source

    [7] BlackRock has launched the iShares Blockchain Technology UCITS ETF.source

    [8] The SEC has rejected more than a dozen spot Bitcoin ETFs.source

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