Franklin Templeton Joins Spot Bitcoin ETF Race

Franklin Templeton Joins Spot Bitcoin ETF Race

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Franklin Templeton filed for a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) Tuesday, becoming the latest traditional asset management firm to join the crowded race.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Franklin Templeton proposed a Coinbase-custodied ETF that would trade on Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. It has not yet proposed a ticker for the product.

Franklin Templeton follows BlackRock and other financial heavyweights who have bet that the SEC may soon allow – or perhaps even be forced by the courts to allow – a spot bitcoin ETF to hit the public markets. Such a product would give everyday investors an easy means to gain exposure to the price of bitcoin in their brokerage accounts, alongside stocks and bonds.

The San Mateo-based company is already a top name for structured investments products like mutual funds and ETFs, and so its interest in a bitcoin ETF should come as no surprise. But it has never previously filed for one, making this entrance all the more notable.

Even so, Franklin Templeton has come around to digital assets and even toyed with novel funds that blend blockchain technology with a tokenized treasury bond.

While industry analysts are increasingly warming to the notion that a bitcoin ETF could come to the U.S. market, Franklin Templeton’s is unlikely to come first. BlackRock, WisdomTree, Fidelity and other prospective issuers are all farther along in the SEC’s bureaucratic procedure.

The regulator is next slated to weigh in on those filings in mid-October. But if its past history of bureaucratic delay is any indication, there may not be a final decision until March 2024.

UPDATE (Sept. 12, 2023, 15:57 UTC): Adds context on bitcoin ETF race.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.

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