21. September 2023

ARK Beats BlackRock to the Punch: First in Line for Spot Bitcoin ETF

• ARK Investment Management, founded by Cathie Wood, and European asset manager 21Shares have filed for a spot Bitcoin ETF in April.
• BlackRock filed an application for a spot Bitcoin ETF in mid-June which triggered notable optimism in cryptocurrency markets.
• The filing from BlackRock has resulted in other firms reactivating their Bitcoin ETF filings.

ARK Invest ‚First In Line‘ For Spot Bitcoin ETF

Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest firm is reportedly ahead of the competition in the race to receive approval for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). The application was filed back in April with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alongside European asset manager 21Shares, making it the only one ahead of BlackRock’s recent filing from mid-June.

BlackRock’s Application Triggers Optimism

The filing from BlackRock caused a wave of optimism to sweep across cryptocurrency markets as many saw it as a sign that the SEC may be ready to approve a BTC ETF soon. This has also led other firms such as Valkyrie, WisdomTree and Invesco to refile applications for their own BTC ETFs while Bitwise is also reportedly attempting once again at gaining approval.

Insider Information?

Industry observers have questioned the timing of BlackRock’s filing leading some to speculate that they could have insider information about what the SEC is likely to do regarding BTC ETF approvals. Bloomberg senior analyst Eric Balchunas summarised his bull case for spot bitcoin ETF approval saying “What does Blackrock know?”

SEC Approval Date Unclear

It is unclear when any of these applications will be approved by the SEC though analysts suggest that ARK Invest and 21Shares should be ahead of anyone else due to their earlier filing date on August 13th 2023. However this doesn’t mean that other applicants can’t amend their filings with similar agreements at little cost if needed, according to ARK analyst Yassine Elmandjra.


The race for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) appears to be heating up as more companies continue to refile applications or file new ones altogether in hopes of becoming the first issuer of a BTC ETF within US borders. With no clear timeline yet on when such an event could take place investors will just have to wait and see how things play out over time and who succeeds first in being approved by regulators like the SEC