Bitcoin ETF war enters end game: BlackRock, Ark cut planned fees

BlackRock’s proposed iShares Bitcoin Trust and the Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF now intend to charge 0.25% and 0.21%, respectively


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BlackRock and Ark Invest dropped management fees for their planned spot bitcoin ETFs on Wednesday, the latest moves in a fee war for prospective investors ahead of potential approval.

The world’s largest asset manager initially proposed fees of 0.30% (30 basis points) for its iShares Bitcoin Trust, but has since revised that price point down to 0.25%. BlackRock also plans to charge 0.12% (12 basis points) for the first 12 months, or $5 billion in assets under management — whichever comes first.

Ark Invest, which filed its spot bitcoin ETF with 21Shares, also adjusted the planned cost of its planned proposed fund, from 0.25% to 0.21%. It also intends to implement a fee waiver, but for the first six months or $1 billion of fund assets.  

The intended price slash comes after Bitwise lowered its planned fee from 0.24% to 0.20% on Tuesday — positioning it, for now, as the cheapest spot bitcoin ETF, should such funds be approved.

WisdomTree also dropped the planned fee for its proposed spot bitcoin ETF fee on Tuesday, from 0.50% to 0.30%. A fund by Invesco and Galaxy Digital said in a filing it would now charge 0.39%, down from 0.59%, while fund firm Valkyrie lowered its intended fee from 0.80% to 0.49%.

Read more: Fund issuers lower planned spot bitcoin ETF fees as possible launches approach

Financial services giant Fidelity, which said in a Dec. 29 filing it planned to charge a 0.39% fee for its bitcoin ETF, revised that price point to 0.25% on Monday. 

Like BlackRock and Ark Invest, Bitwise, Invesco, Fidelity, Valkyrie also include initial complete or partial fee waivers. But Nate Geraci, president of The ETF Store, noted such waivers “don’t tend to move the needle much as most investors focus on the longer-term costs.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission still expected to rule on spot bitcoin ETFs by Wednesday. The regulator’s X account shared an “unauthorized” post claiming such funds had been approved before Gary Gensler said in a statement the account had been “compromised.”

Various industry watchers and executives said spot bitcoin ETFs, if approved, could start trading as early as Thursday. Given a bunch of similar spot bitcoin ETFs could hit the market at the same time, segment observers said fees could prove an important differentiating factor that investors will weigh. 

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