By Suzanne McGee
(Reuters) – ARK Investment Management led by Cathie Wood, and Swiss cryptocurrency manager 21Shares, plan to charge a fee of 0.80% on their proposed ARK 21Shares Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) if cleared by regulators, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing.
Since 2021, the SEC has rejected multiple applications to issue spot bitcoin ETFs, arguing that the cryptocurrency market is vulnerable to manipulation.
However, expectations that regulators might change their stance have grown in recent months. In August, a federal court ruled that the SEC wrongly rejected Grayscale Investments’ application to convert its Bitcoin Trust into a spot bitcoin ETF. It ordered the SEC to review the filing.
SEC chair Gary Gensler said last month that the SEC is evaluating as many as 10 spot bitcoin ETF proposals. Gensler didn’t offer any thoughts on timing, but over the last two weeks the SEC has delayed making decisions on a series of those spot bitcoin ETFs. Regulators must deliver a final ruling on the ARK 21Shares ETF on or before January 10, 2024.
The average fee levied on U.S. ETFs currently hovers around 0.54%, but Ark’s proposed fee of 0.80% is significantly lower than the 2% that Grayscale currently charges investors on its spot bitcoin trust. It’s also slightly lower than the fees some issuers levy on cryptocurrency ETFs tied to futures contracts. The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, for example, carries a 0.95% fee.
If the SEC does approve some or all of the pending spot bitcoin ETF applications in early January, industry participants and analysts expect a fierce battle for market share to follow.
(Reporting by Suzanne McGee;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)