BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has just launched a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) providing European customers with exposure to the blockchain industry, while reports indicate a Metaverse-focused ETF may be on the way.
The newly launched blockchain ETF on Sept. 27 is called the iShares Blockchain Technology UCITS ETF (BLKC).
BlackRock said 75% of its holdings consist of blockchain companies such as miners and exchanges, while the other 25% are companies that support the blockchain ecosystem.
The fund includes 35 global companies out of a total of 50 holdings, which also includes fiat cash and derivatives, but does not directly invest in cryptocurrencies.
BLKC marks the latest of a series of moves into the digital assets space for BlackRock, with the most recent being the launch of a private spot Bitcoin trust on Aug. 11.
In a Sept. 29 report from Finextra, product strategist for thematic and sector ETFs at BlackRock, Omar Moufti said the ETF will “allow our clients the opportunity to engage with global companies leading the development of the emerging blockchain ecosystem,” adding:
“We believe digital assets and blockchain technologies are going to become increasingly relevant for our clients as use cases develop in scope, scale and complexity.”
The top 5 holdings in the fund are Coinbase (13.20%), USD cash (13.00%), fintech firm Block (11.40%), crypto mining firms Marathon Digital Holdings (11.13%) and Riot Blockchain (10.50%).
Other holdings include 23 IT companies, six financial companies, one industrials company, and one communications company, with 50 holdings in total as of Sept. 28.
However, a Bloomberg report on Sept. 29 suggests that BlackRock may be working on another ETF — focused on the Metaverse, called the iShares Future Metaverse Tech and Communications ETF.
The report said that the fund’s fees and ticker are not yet listed, but might include “firms that have products or services tied to virtual platforms, social media, gaming, digital assets, augmented reality and more.”
The Metaverse ETF follows insights published on Feb. 14 from BlackRock Technology Opportunities Fund co-portfolio manager Reid Menge, who labeled the Metaverse a “revolution in the making.”
On Aug. 4 Coinbase announced that it had entered into a partnership with BlackRock and appears to be reaping the rewards of the partnership with its high weighting in BLKC.
The partnership gives institutional investors the ability to access crypto through its Coinbase Prime service.