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June 17, 2024
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Bitcoin ETF: These Are All the Authorized Participants


The Bitcoin spot ETF tea leaves have been read so aggressively they’ve been pulverized into dust. Nonetheless, there is a high level of confidence across the market that the much-anticipated new investment vehicle will be approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission any moment now—today, even.

But while the names at the top of the applications are financial heavyweights—BlackRock, Fidelity, Grayscale, and so on—each must also designate an “authorized participant.”

An authorized participant in an exchange-traded fund is defined as an organization that works to create and redeem shares of that fund so that an investor can cash out. Basically, an entity with substantial buying power to secure and sell the underlying asset—Bitcoin—at will, ensuring the fund has sufficient liquidity.

While the SEC has granted leeway to providers of ETFs based on more traditional assets, the last-minute updates to the Bitcoin spot ETF applications suggest that the federal regulator is specifically concerned about the entities that will help Bitcoin ETF investors convert their gains into other assets.

So important is the “authorized participant” in these applications that the blank space left by Grayscale in a recent filing has industry watchers scratching their heads.

In an updated filing on Friday, Grayscale subsequently clarified that it would be working with Jane Street Capital, Macquarie Capital, Virtu Americas, and ABN AMRO Clearing USA. As Decrypt previously explained, the authorized participant change appears to be another attempt by the SEC to explicitly spell out who can be involved in the creation and redemption of Bitcoin ETF shares—and by extension, who can directly handle BTC.

So the U.S. Bitcoin ETF race has, unsurprisingly, many layers. Who are the “authorized providers” following these financial giants into the breach?

The authorized participant list

There are more than a dozen applications pending with the SEC. And each application could designate any number of “authorized participants”—the application from Latin American contender Hashdex lists no fewer than fifteen. Thus, the list of entities expected to provide much of the liquidity in the Bitcoin ETF market is very, very long.

Jane Street and JP Morgan were among the first to be named in the latest and potentially of application updates.

Some of these partners are more popular than others: Jane Street has signed agreements with all applicants.

iShares Bitcoin Trust (BlackRock)

Jane Street Capital, JP Morgan Securities, Macquarie Capital, and Virtu Americas have all been named as authorized participants for BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF.

VanEck Bitcoin Trust (VanEck)

Jane Street Capital, Virtu Americas LLC, and ABN AMRO Clearing have all signed agreements to act as authorized participants.

Franklin Bitcoin ETF (Franklin Templeton)

Jane Street Capital and Virtu Americas have each signed authorized participant agreements with Templeton.

Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust (Fidelity)

Fidelity names Jane Street Capital, JP Morgan Securities, Macquarie Capital, and Virtu Americas LLC as authorized participants for its Bitcoin ETF.

Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund (Valkyrie)

Jane Street Capital and Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. have signed authorized participant agreements with Valkyrie.

WisdomTree Bitcoin Fund (WisdomTree)

The latest filing from WisdomTree shows lists Jane Street Capital, Macquarie Capital, and Virtu Americas as authorized participants.

Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin Fund (Invesco, Galaxy Digital)

JP Morgan Securities, Virtu Americas, Jane Street Capital, and Marex Capital Markets Inc. have all signed authorized participant agreements with Inveso.

Bitwise Bitcoin ETF (Bitwise)

Jane Street Capital, Macquarie Capital, and Virtu Americas have signed on to be authorized participants for Bitwise’s Bitcoin ETF.

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (Grayscale)

Jane Street Capital, Virtu Americas, Macquarie Capital, and ABN AMRO Clearing have all signed authorized participant agreements with Grayscale.

ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARK Invest, 21Shares)

Jane Street Capital, Macquarie Capital, and Virtu Americas will be authorized participants for ARK’s Bitcoin ETF.

Who’s missing

Goldman Sachs hasn’t yet appeared on any of the updated filings, despite rumors last week that it had been in talks to become an authorized participant for some of the potential issuers. If it did take on that role, Goldman would join the firms above in being able to create and redeem shares of Bitcoin ETFs that get approved for trading.

Edited by Stacy Elliott.





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