Goldman Sachs Eyeing Bitcoin ETF Role Via BlackRock and Grayscale: Sources

Goldman Sachs is in talks to play the key role of being an "authorized participant" for BlackRock and Grayscale's bitcoin ETFs, if the SEC approves them, according to people familiar with the situation.

AccessTimeIconJan 3, 2024 at 5:48 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 7:21 p.m. UTC
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Goldman Sachs, the high-profile Wall Street investment bank, looks likely to play a key role for the bitcoin ETFs that BlackRock and Grayscale want to introduce in the U.S., according to two people familiar with the situation.

The company is in talks to be an authorized participant, or AP, for the exchange-traded funds, according to the people, who requested anonymity. That's one of the most important jobs in the multi-trillion-dollar ETF industry, a role that involves creating and redeeming ETF shares to ensure the products trade in lockstep with their underlying assets.

Goldman Sachs would join other finance giants in taking on that role. Last week, it was announced that JPMorgan Chase, Jane Street and Cantor Fitzgerald would take on the AP job for some of the dozen or so companies seeking the Securities and Exchange Commission's permission to offer bitcoin ETFs in the U.S.

And many more names are likely to emerge – though the ones that have come out so far are among the biggest firms in U.S. finance. A source at a major trading firm said they expected each bitcoin ETF to ultimately have five to 10 APs.

Big U.S. banks, who have traditionally avoided dealing with cryptocurrencies directly, have been invited to join the hotly anticipated bitcoin ETF party thanks to the adoption of a cash-based mechanism for handling the bitcoin backing the shares, which is seen as a necessary part of winning SEC approval.

The firms Goldman Sachs is seeking to partner with are major players. BlackRock is the biggest asset manager in the world, while Grayscale runs the $26 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, the biggest bitcoin investment vehicle. The Grayscale product is structured as a trust, though, and the company wants to convert it into an easier-to-trade ETF.

Grayscale, which won a landmark court battle against the SEC that cleared the way for upgrading its bitcoin trust into an ETF, last year named market-makers Jane Street and Virtu Financial as proposed APs when the time came to make the transition.

Goldman Sachs did not respond to requests for comment by press time. BlackRock and Grayscale declined to comment.

Edited by Nick Baker.

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Ian Allison

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.


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