Bitcoin lender BlockFi and fund manager Neuberger Berman are partnering to launch exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other crypto products. The final quarter of 2021 will see a flurry of Bitcoin (BTC) futures ETFs hit the markets.
BlockFi and Neuberger Berman: a new entity for new crypto products
On October 25, 2021, BlockFi and investment fund manager Neuberger Berman announced that they are partnering to launch future cryptocurrency-oriented products. In particular, the new legal entity announced their plans to launch a crypto exchange traded fund:
“We plan to launch crypto asset management products, including ETFs and other more traditional structured products, that will give investors cost-effective and convenient access to the performance of crypto assets directly from their brokerage accounts.”
So BlockFi | nb is getting into ETFs as the SEC has given the green light for the first exchange-traded funds linked to Bitcoin futures. The first Bitcoin ETF, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO), went public in New York on October 19, 2021. The Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy (BTF) was listed on Nasdaq a few days later, on October 22, 2021. The VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF (XBTF) is the third Bitcoin ETF that will begin trading in October 2021.
The BlockFi Bitcoin Strategy ETF: a possible launch in late 2021.
BlockFi had filed a Form N-1A relating to the BlockFi Bitcoin Strategy ETF with the U.S. SEC on October 8, 2021. The ETF would take the form of a fund that would invest primarily in CFTC-registered Bitcoin futures contracts, without direct exposure to BTC. Approval could come within 75 days of that filing date, unless the SEC issues objections by then.
According to a BlockFi spokesperson, BlockFi | nb is based in Jersey City, New Jersey, and relies on a small staff structure, for now. It “naturally receives ongoing support and services from its parent entities,” with plans for future development.
The launch of the first exchange-traded funds on Bitcoin futures is among the historic events marking 2021. While they have been eagerly awaited with the SEC dragging its feet on approval, not all analysts agree on the positive (or negative) impact of these ETFs on the markets.