The battle for spot bitcoin ETFs in the US

This week brought news on what the firm involved, Grayscale, called ‘a monumental step forward for American investors, the bitcoin ecosystem, and all those who have been advocating for bitcoin exposure through the added protections of the ETF wrapper.’

The US Court of Appeals ruled in favour of Grayscale’s lawsuit challenging the SEC’s decision to deny the conversion of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) to an ETF. Described as a huge and major victory by a number of observers, the interesting thing for me was what it did to the price of bitcoin, which behaved just like a currency (gasp) and rallied as high as USD28,000. In addition, GBTC’s discount narrowed from about 25 per cent to 16 per cent.

Watch this space for more news on what Grayscale will do next.

Our interview this week was cheekily entitled ‘Hector McNeil: Yorkshire’s leading ETF supporter’ and was an interview with one of the few people in the ETF industry who needs no company name to remind you of who he is – or, indeed, where he’s from. Read the piece and find some admissions of vulnerability. “The competitiveness, teamwork and aggression of sport coupled with me being a Yorkshire man is a unique mix that has given me an edge,” McNeil says.

“It’s a great thing but did hold me back earlier in my career as I expect the same high standards of people I work with and a pace which not everyone can offer, and I have learnt to temper that over the years. Everyone is different so my expectations need to reflect that and, since Covid, people’s outlooks and motivations have changed. Empathy is key to a lot of ways to motivate people today. It’s a hard skill to learn if it’s not natural to you.”

What is natural to him is launching ETFs and, over his career, McNeil, with his close partner Nik Bienkowski, has launched some 650 ETPs, and estimates that number represents 8 per cent of every ETP on the planet – the mere fact that he has calculated this demonstrates his attention to detail and desire to win.

Talking about winning – voting is now open for the ETF Express US Awards 2023 and we have had quite the flurry of interest on social media and in terms of voting numbers. The US ETF service provider and ETF issuer firms with the most votes win so keep it up – voting closes on 15th September.

To place your votes please click here.

Beverly Chandler, Managing Editor

For live updates please follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Matteo Greco, Research Analyst at digital asset and fintech investment business Fineqia International has commented on the recent Grayscale ruling and subsequent rise in the price of bitcoin.
The winners of the ETF Express US Awards 2023 will be announced at the event in New York on 26th October and published in the subsequent US ETF Awards Special Report. Thank you to everyone who nominated and voted in this year’s iteration.
Regulatory news from the US’s DC Circuit found the US Court of Appeals ruling in favour of crypto asset manager Grayscale’s lawsuit challenging the SEC’s decision to deny the conversion of GBTC to an ETF. 
October 2018 saw the newly formed first European ETP white labeller, HANetf, Hector and Nik ETF, named for co-founders and co-CEOs, Hector McNeil and Nik Bienkowski, launch their first product, EMQQ Emerging Markets Internet and Ecommerce UCITS ETF. 

Global ETF launches

Global Launches sponsored by STOXX
Global launches excluding north America this week were focused on global sustainable infrastructure from Rize ETF, along with Europe’s first and only Article 9 sustainable thematic ETF specifically targeting US companies that are making a substantial contribution to one or more of the six environmental objectives of the EU Taxonomy.

US ETF launches

US Launches sponsored by STOXX
Seven new ETF offerings were launched for the week, each with a distinct value proposition for investors.  Detailed below are the respective launches from each asset manager.


Canada Launches sponsored by STOXX
A summary of the Canadian ETF launches that occurred in August 2023.
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