BlackRock, Valkyrie inch closer to potential spot bitcoin ETF decision

A pivotal phase in the race for the American spot bitcoin ETF has begun. 

Nasdaq filed amendments related to the spot bitcoin ETFs proposed by BlackRock and Valkyrie in a move that reflects continued movement toward a Securities and Exchange Commission ruling on such funds. 

The SEC would need to approve these documents, known as 19b-4 forms, before the exchanges would be able to list the spot bitcoin ETFs. Fund issuers also need to have their registration statements, known as S-1s, be deemed effective to launch their planned ETFs. 

The regulator could also choose to deny such products, as it has done over the years.

Read more: What to know as an SEC decision on spot bitcoin ETFs looms

The SEC has a Jan. 10 deadline to rule on an ETF proposal by Ark Invest and 21Shares. Various industry watchers have said the regulator could decide on multiple other planned funds at that time, including those of BlackRock and Valkyrie.

SEC staff told a group of exchanges and issuers that they could submit final documents for their proposed spot bitcoin ETFs, Bloomberg reported Friday. Unnamed sources reportedly told the outlet an SEC vote on the proposals could come next week.

An SEC spokesperson told Blockworks the regulator does not comment on individual filings.

“Broadly speaking, if the commission declares a registration statement effective, that is reflected on EDGAR,” the representative added. “Any commission 19b-4 orders will be posted on our website and then published in the Federal Register.”

Tonight’s filings represent a key moment in the push to create a spot bitcoin ETF, an investment vehicle that offers investors exposure to the price of bitcoin without the need to own the actual digital asset. A group of financial sector giants and crypto-native firms are vying for SEC approval, and various companies have sought the SEC green light for years without success.

Read more: The decade-long road to (possible) spot bitcoin ETF approval

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Eric Balchunas said during a Friday X Spaces that seeing amended 19b-4s would reflect issuers being on the “one-inch line.” He has said he believes there is a 90% chance the SEC approves spot bitcoin ETFs this month. 

Balchunas later posted on X that the SEC, per his sources, asked for S-1s to be filed on Monday. 

The last time the other issuers filed amendments was on Dec. 29. BlackRock, Fidelity and Invesco, among others, updated key details — deemed to be some of the final details needed by Balchunas — in their S-1s. 

Read more: Fees, seeds and APs: What we know — and don’t know — about the planned bitcoin ETFs

BlackRock and Fidelity, for example, disclosed that they’d be tapping JPMorgan Securities and Jane Street as authorized participants. Fidelity also disclosed a fee of 39 basis points, the lowest fee so far. 

An authorized participant, or AP, is an entity that can both create and redeem shares of an ETF. The shares can then be exchanged for either a basket of securities similar to the holdings or for cash.

Other potential issuers named Cantor Fitzgerald, and Virtu Americas as APs though both Jane Street and JPMorgan walked away with the most mentions.

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