First Mover Americas: Franklin Templeton's Bitcoin ETF Becomes the Cheapest

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for Jan. 12, 2024.

AccessTimeIconJan 12, 2024 at 1:15 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2024 at 5:44 a.m. UTC

This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter, putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

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The discount to net asset value (NAV) for Grayscale’s bitcoin fund (GBTC), the largest bitcoin (BTC) investment vehicle, shrank to 0% for the first time since February 2021. The company got the all clear from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday to convert the fund into a spot bitcoin exchange traded-fund (ETF), which began trading Thursday alongside 10 other ETFs. The fund had been trading at a discount to the price of the bitcoin it held, hitting a record low of nearly 50% in December 2022. GBTC’s discount to NAV began to narrow significantly as the expectations of an ETF approval surfaced several months ago along with rising bitcoin sentiment.

Franklin Templeton reduced the fee on its bitcoin (BTC) ETF to 0.19% of net assets, becoming the cheapest amongst the new investment products. San Mateo, California-headquartered Franklin Templeton has reduced the fee for its Bitcoin ETF (EZBC) from 0.29%, according to a filing with the (SEC) on Friday. The 10 basis-point reduction makes the fund's fee the lowest, beating Bitwise's 0.2%. Till Aug. 2 the fund manager will waive fees until the fund reaches assets under management (AUM) of $10 billion.

UBS, the Zürich-based banking giant, will let some clients who desire to trade bitcoin ETFs do so, subject to some conditions, according to a person familiar with the matter. The conditions, according to the person close to UBS who asked to not be named, include: UBS cannot solicit the trades and accounts with a lower risk tolerance won't be able to buy them. A UBS spokesperson declined to comment. Citigroup, meanwhile, “currently provides our institutional clients with access to the recently approved Bitcoin ETFs from an execution and asset servicing perspective," a spokesperson told CoinDesk Thursday. The New York-based bank is "evaluating the products for individual Wealth clients.”

Chart of the Day

  • The chart shows that the ether-bitcoin ratio has risen to 0.057, the highest since Nov. 13.
  • Up 12%, the ratio is on track to register its biggest single-week gain since July 2022.
  • Ether's outperformance likely stems from traders looking at Ethereum's native token as the probable next candidate for spot ETF approval in the U.S.
  • Source: TradingView

- Omkar Godbole

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Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.