Crypto lending firm BlockFi has formed a business with New York-based investment management company Neuberger Berman for the development and distribution of crypto products including exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
In a Monday announcement, BlockFi said the joint venture, BlockFi Nb, expects to “launch crypto asset management products, including ETFs and other traditional structures,” giving investors exposure to crypto in their brokerage accounts. According to the two firms, the partnership will combine BlockFi’s retail and institutional crypto solutions with Neuberger Berman's suite of crypto strategies.
"We are witnessing a significant shift in investor sentiment towards digital assets, and we believe that digital assets should be considered in modern portfolios," said BlockFi Nb president Greg Collett.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has already approved shares of Bitcoin (BTC) futures-linked exchange-traded funds to be listed on United States-based exchanges. This month, ProShares became the first company to list its Bitcoin Strategy ETF for trading on the New York Stock Exchange, followed by Valkyrie’s Bitcoin Strategy ETF listing on the Nasdaq. Many expect VanEck's crypto ETF to be next.
Though the regulatory body has only approved crypto ETF applications with exposure linked to BTC futures, it still has Bitcoin ETFs under consideration from Galaxy Digital and Invesco, WisdomTree, Global X, Ark Invest, Kryptoin and others. BlockFi filed its own prospectus for a BTC Strategy ETF with the SEC on Oct. 8, with a decision expected before Dec. 7 should the regulator not extend or otherwise delay the deadline.
BlockFi faced regulatory backlash from state officials regarding allegations the firm was not offering a security licensed at the state or federal level. In July, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities issued a cease and desist order preventing the firm from onboarding new interest account clients. Both the Alabama Securities Commission and the Texas State Securities Board subsequently made similar allegations. BlockFi claimed its Interest Account is not a security.