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New player enters pursuit of ASX’s first spot bitcoin ETF

By Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
3 minute read

DigitalX has entered the competitive arena of spot bitcoin ETFs, aiming to become the first in this space.

In a statement on Friday, DigitalX said it is eyeing the first spot bitcoin ETF listing on the ASX, but the company declined to provide additional details when InvestorDaily inquired about its application status with the ASX.

As its peer Monochrome recently learnt, being the first to list on the ASX is not a simple procedure. The Brisbane-based asset management, which initially submitted its application to the ASX in July 2023 with plans for a second-quarter 2024 launch, announced earlier this month it had decided to shift its focus to Cboe.

In a statement issued on its website at the time, the asset manager stated Cboe “aligns more closely with our strategic vision, market reach, and timeframe”, while maintaining its scheduled launch date.

InvestorDaily’s recent coverage highlighted the competition among investment managers vying to launch the first ASX-listed bitcoin ETF, especially after VanEck asserted its readiness to lead in this space, challenging Monochrome. However, the fund manager also tempered expectations regarding Monochrome’s timeline, stating that approval for an ASX-listed bitcoin ETF is not imminent.

VanEck cited “a number of hurdles from a regulatory and exchange framework perspective”, noting that several aspects need to be addressed, including approval from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), before a bitcoin ETF can be listed on the ASX.

DigitalX may now encounter these challenges while also contending with VanEck’s presence in the same space.

Namely, deputy head of investment and capital markets, Jamie Hannah, told InvestorDaily earlier this month, VanEck is still on track to be the first Australian spot bitcoin ETF on the ASX.

“VanEck is working closely with the ASX to bring the first bitcoin ETF to the exchange,” Hannah said.

“While the requirements are significant, we are on track to meet them and believe we are the best placed fund manager in Australia with the prerequisite global expertise and heritage managing cryptocurrencies.”

Ultimately, with the competition heating up and VanEck’s strong presence, DigitalX needs to move quickly if it wants to secure the top spot.

On its website, DigitalX says it’s “the only ASX-listed company that holds bitcoin as a core treasury asset and is an investor in both of the DigitalX funds”.

The firm recently announced its bitcoin fund and digital asset fund increased 70.2 per cent and 56.9 per cent, respectively, over the quarter.