In a move that increases Bitcoin’s legitimacy in institutional finance, global investment giant Franklin Templeton filed a regulatory Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, seeking approval for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund.
The development comes at a time when the race to launch the first spot Bitcoin ETF in the US is hotly contested, with participants including established companies such as Fidelity and BlockRock, as well as startups such as Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC).
Franklin Templeton, who manages nearly $1.5 trillion in assets, is looking to capitalize on the growing demand for Bitcoin investments. The proposed ETF, if approved, would provide investors with a more accessible and regulated way to gain exposure to the world’s leading cryptocurrency.
The filing outlines plans for the Franklin Templeton Digital Asset Fund, which aims to track Bitcoin’s performance.
Several other investment firms have filed similar applications in recent years, but none have received SEC approval yet.
However, over the past few years, Bitcoin has gained attention as a store of value and a hedge against inflation, prompting institutions to diversify their portfolios.
In their filing, Franklin Templeton highlighted the benefits of a Bitcoin ETF, such as improved liquidity and ease of trading for investors, without the need to directly hold and manage cryptocurrency assets. This approach is expected to be more attractive to conservative investors who are still hesitant about the complexities of Bitcoin custody and security.
However, the road to launching a Bitcoin ETF in the US has been a challenging one, with the SEC constantly emphasizing the need for strong investor protections and market oversight. Franklin Templeton’s application will undergo a comprehensive regulatory review, which may take several months before a final decision is reached.
If approved, the Franklin Templeton Digital Asset Trust will join the growing list of cryptocurrency ETFs available to US investors, including several Bitcoin futures ETFs that now live on a different basis.
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