• Goldman Sachs filed for an ETF that will invest in “disruptive innovation,” which may include digital assets
  • The SEC has shut down every past crypto ETF proposal, but that has not deterred firms from trying

Goldman Sachs is the latest company to put its name in the hat to offer a bitcoin-tied ETF, according to regulatory forms filed Tuesday. 

The fund will focus on investing in companies that fit the theme of “disruptive innovation,” which the company defines as “the introduction of a technologically enabled new product or service that potentially changes the way the world works.” It may or may not include bitcoin, which would fall under its group of fintech innovation companies.

“The ETF may have exposure to cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin, indirectly through an investment in a grantor trust,” the document says. “The ETF’s exposure to cryptocurrency may change over time and, accordingly, such exposure may not always be represented in the ETF’s portfolio.”

Goldman is the latest company vying for Securities and Exchange Commission approval for a bitcoin-tied ETF. The SEC has denied every past bid for one, but some are betting that a change in agency leadership, coupled with broader institutional acceptance, will lead to a more positive crypto sentiment. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, who transitioned into the top position this month, is known for being open minded when it comes to digital assets, but there are still security and custody concerns that must be addressed when it comes to a cryptocurrency ETF. 

“I believe that we are going to see a bitcoin ETF within 18 months, and I’ve been saying that for five years,” said Ric Edleman, founder of the RIA Digital Assets Council. “We’re all looking forward to a bitcoin ETF, but we have to ask ourselves, by the time it comes out, what’s the price of bitcoin going to be?” 

Last week SkyBridge Capital filed to offer a bitcoin ETF with First Trust. In January alternative asset management firm Valkyrie filed for its own bitcoin ETF, and VanEck filed for the VanEck Bitcoin Trust in December. The SEC started the decision clock for VanEck’s application last week and has 45 days to accept or deny it.

Earlier this month Goldman revealed it would relaunch its digital asset trading desk and will start dealing bitcoin futures shortly after Mathew McDermott, head of Digital Assets for Goldman Sachs’ Global Markets Division, said on a podcast at the time that Goldman and others had held back on taking a bigger role in digital assets because of their inability to trade bitcoin itself.

“We’ve seen from a lot of demand – particularly with the hedge funds, some of the asset managers and the macro funds – a desire to get access to the physical, so that’s been something that we’ve had to think cleverly about, how we can facilitate that demand in a different way,” he said.

Goldman is among several other major financial institutions trying to meet increasing client demand for exposure to digital assets without offering access to spot bitcoin, including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Charles Schwab and BlackRock this year alone. BNY Mellon is planning to custody digital assets, too.

Goldman Sachs did not respond to a request for comment.

  • Blockworks
    Senior Reporter
    Casey Wagner is a New York-based business journalist covering regulation, legislation, digital asset investment firms, market structure, central banks and governments, and CBDCs. Prior to joining Blockworks, she reported on markets at Bloomberg News. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Media Studies. Contact Casey via email at [email protected]
  • Blockworks
    Senior Reporter
    Tanaya is a business journalist in New York covering financial services and the future of money. Previously, she was an on-air reporter and anchor at Cheddar. She has also worked at Digiday, American Banker and CoinDesk.