BlackRock plans to enter cryptocurrency ETF space amid sector’s meltdown

US firm’s iShares Blockchain and Tech ETF would invest in companies involved in the ‘development, innovation, and utilisation of blockchain and crypto technologies’

BlackRock said it would hold its cryptocurrency funds to high standards for liquidity and transparency. Reuters
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US investment management company BlackRock is stepping into the arena of cryptocurrency-flavoured exchange-traded funds in the midst of a $1 trillion wipeout.

The iShares Blockchain and Tech ETF would invest in companies involved in the “development, innovation, and utilisation of blockchain and crypto technologies”, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. If launched, it would be the first crypto-adjacent fund in the largest ETF issuer’s line-up.

Salim Ramji, the head of BlackRock’s global ETF business, said on a December episode of Bloomberg’s Trillions podcast that a thematic blockchain fund was in the works.

The number of ETFs tracking crypto-linked equities has grown to 15 in recent years, according to Bloomberg Intelligence data, as the SEC continues to demur on spot Bitcoin ETF approval.

Mr Ramji said in December that the firm would hold its crypto funds to high standards for liquidity and transparency.

“As the regulatory environment becomes clearer, and as the underlying liquidity dynamics of that market become more to our satisfaction, that some of those dynamics will work in our favour,” he said.

Bitcoin, the largest digital asset, extended its decline on Saturday and has shed more than 50 per cent from its record high in November while adding momentum to the meltdown in cryptocurrencies. It fell as low as $34,042.78 on Saturday, a drop of 7.2 per cent, before paring most of those losses.

That slammed crypto-linked equities and funds, with the $1bn Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF plunging by 8 per cent.

Updated: January 22, 2022, 3:00 PM
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