Business

Gerald Fenech

Coinbase explores crypto ETF with BlackRock: report

The crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF) sector looks to be getting a new customer as cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase is rumoured to be exploring how to launch a fund in this area. According to a Business Insider report, quoting sources familiar with the negotiations, it appeared that Coinbase has asked for the assistance of BlackRock on this matter.

Considered one of the pioneers of ETFs, BlackRock manages no less than $6 trillion in assets. It launched its blockchain working group in 2015. It has also been adamant against issuing crypto funds.

According to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, the company’s clients haven’t shown any interest in digital currencies, calling Bitcoin as an “index of money laundering.” BlackRock’s blockchain working group aim was to determine how blockchain applications can boost financial services, an unnamed source told the Business Insider.

BlackRock’s blockchain representatives offered no recommendations to Coinbase, the source said, and it was uncertain how extensive the conversations have been.

If all goes according to Coinbase’s plan, however, the exchange’s ETF “would monitor different cryptocurrencies,” an insider said. Coinbase, which announced a crypto index fund for accredited investors in March, joins the ranks of VanEck, Bitwise Asset Management and Winklevoss twins’ Gemini in bidding to introduce the first crypto ETF. So far, no ETF has yet to secure the approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Meanwhile, banks have been busy developing custody products for cryptocurrencies.

Financial giants like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Fidelity were reportedly working on a product allowing banks to hold crypto assets as well as monitor crypto price changes for its clients.

ICE, operates the New York Stock Exchange, announced a cryptocurrency trading platform called Bakkt in August. The outlook for a bitcoin ETF remains uncertain, however, with another application to be reviewed by the SEC at the end of September, although this will most likely be postponed.

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