Cboe Makes Third Attempt to List ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF

The proposed ETF, a collaboration between Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest and crypto investment product firm 21Shares, aims to list and trade on the Cboe BZX exchange


Ariel Bravy/Shutterstock, modified by Blockworks


Cboe Global Markets has made its third attempt to secure regulatory approval for a spot Bitcoin ETF from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

The ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF, if approved, would allow investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin without owning the digital currency directly.

The proposed ETF, a collaboration between Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest and crypto investment product firm 21Shares, aims to list and trade on the Cboe BZX exchange, Reuters reported on Tuesday. It marks the latest effort by Cboe, following two previous unsuccessful attempts to list and trade the same ETF. 

Cboe BZX Exchange is one of the largest US equities market operators on any given day, clocking $1.4 billion in 24-hour trade volume. It is owned and operated by Cboe Global Markets, which also owns the Chicago Board Options Exchange and other exchanges around the world.

The operator has made attempts to list and trade the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF in the past, including in May 2022 and August 2021. They were both rejected on the grounds the product did little to prevent fraud, according to the SEC.

The regulator has historically been cautious about such proposals, citing concerns over potential market manipulation and the lack of transparency in the crypto market.

To date, the SEC has rejected more than a dozen other proposals for spot bitcoin ETFs over a number of years, including from prominent firms such as Grayscale, Fidelity, and NYDIG. 

Despite the regulator’s reservations, the increasing demand for bitcoin and other digital assets has fueled a renewed push for regulatory approval of crypto-based financial products.

That’s led to the creation of US-based bitcoin futures ETFs, most notably from issuers Proshares, Valkyrie and VanEck, which have been available for nearly two years.

But a spot bitcoin ETF remains elusive. Comparable products are available in developed markets outside the US, and the SEC has faced criticism for its intransigence, to the point where Grayscale is suing the agency.

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