BlackRock plans to launch a blockchain and tech ETF, tracking crypto-focused companies worldwide

BlackRock plans to launch a blockchain and tech ETF, tracking crypto-focused companies worldwide
Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • BlackRock plans to launch a blockchain and tech ETF, the asset manager said in an SEC filing Friday.
  • The iShares ETF will list at least 35 companies, from blockchain techs to crypto miners, according to the filing.

BlackRock has filed to launch a blockchain-related exchange-traded fund as it looks to tap into the appetite for decentralized finance.

The iShares Blockchain and Tech ETF will track companies worldwide involved in the development, innovation and use of blockchain and crypto technologies, it said in a Friday filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Its components — 35, at a minimum — will include crypto miners and crypto trading exchanges, as well as businesses focused on blockchain technology, according to the filing.

In December, iShares global head Salim Ramji told Insider the BlackRock unit was readying the thematic fund, saying it would track companies involved in infrastructure for decentralized finance, or DeFi.

"I'm a big believer in the disruptive capabilities of decentralized finance," Ramji said at the time.


BlackRock appears to be treading carefully in crypto ETFs. Ramji has previously cited an opaque regulatory framework and liquidity concerns as reasons to hold off, and it wanted to make sure its ETFs were to the highest standards people expect.

"That means from a regulatory point of view, from a liquidity point of view, from a transparency point of view," he told Bloomberg on its Trillions podcast last month.

But the planned fund will not invest in cryptocurrency directly or indirectly via derivatives, BlackRock said in its filing. The SEC has stalled on approvals for spot bitcoin-related ETFs, given what it sees as a lack of consumer protections.

The new ETF would be BlackRock's first offered via iShares, though other asset managers such as Global X ETFs have already introduced blockchain-focused funds.

Roughly 30 million of BlackRock's 100 million clients of its ETFs and index funds use iShares. The $10 trillion asset manager expects to pull in 100 million more within five years by adding new products.

In October, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink told CNBC he sees huge opportunities in digitized crypto-blockchain-related currency, which will create some big winners and losers.


But those comments came before the recent broad cryptocurrency selloff erased billions of dollars off the value of the market as a whole. Leading digital currency bitcoin is down 28% year to date, and has fallen almost 50% since its November high of almost $69,000 to below $35,000.