San Francisco-based virtual currency exchange Coinbase is considering a foray into the cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF) space, Business Insider reported on Thursday. The news coincided with a pro-crypto appointment at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), raising market hopes that the regulator may soon change its tune of rejecting crypto ETF proposals.
Coinbase’s planned crypto ETF is reportedly aimed to allow retail investors to gain access to volatile crypto markets. If approved, the fund will track several cryptocurrencies along with Bitcoin (BTC), Business Insider revealed.
According to anonymous sources cited by the publication, Coinbase has held conversations with investment management giant BlackRock, seeking its expertise in the ETF field. The $6 trillion asset manager, well-known for its iShares division, set up its blockchain division in 2015 with the aim to identify various applications of blockchain technology in the financial services industry. However, the CEO of BlackRock, Larry Fink has previously stated that the firm’s clients have no interest in the crypto market and referred to Bitcoin as an “index of money laundering”. It remains unclear whether BlackRock has changed its stance, agreeing to work alongside Coinbase.
In its crypto ETF push, Coinbase is joining numerous other firms including the Winklevoss twins’ Gemini exchange, VanEck, and Bitwise Asset Management. Despite the strong interest from the industry and retail investors, crypto ETF applications have not been going far with regulators.
Citing fraud and market manipulation concerns, last month the SEC rejected the listing of nine Bitcoin-related ETFs. Just a day after its ruling, the agency stated that it would review its decision, though.
The road to a green light has become clearer after on Thursday the Trump administration made its fourth appointment to the SEC, choosing Elad Roisman, who is known for its pro-crypto comments. In a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee in July, Roisman said:
“…the SEC must examine and re-examine its rules, regulations, and guidelines to ensure that they are still working as intended to accomplish the SEC’s mission. This is most recently manifested in areas such as data protection and cybersecurity, as well as the emergence of new investments and technologies such as initial coin offerings and blockchain. It is essential that the SEC approach these new challenges in a fair and transparent manner, provide clarity and certainty to the markets and investors, and enforce the laws and regulations that hold market participants accountable.”