Billionaire Mike Novogratz's Galaxy Digital is the 9th firm to apply for a bitcoin ETF

Michael Novogratz, President of Fortress Investment Group, speaks  at the annual Skybridge Alternatives Conference (SALT) in Las Vegas May 6, 2015.   REUTERS/Rick WilkingThomson Reuters

Summary List Placement

Galaxy Digital, a crypto asset bank run by billionaire Mike Novogratz, filed for approval to launch a bitcoin exchange-traded fund on Monday, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing

The submitted S-1 form is an initial registration filing used by companies that intend to publicly register their securities.

Galaxy intends for its ETF to trade on the NYSE Arca, according to the filing. The fund has not yet named an ETF custodian, so it's likely that amended filings will be submitted in due course. The firm already acts as a sub-advisor to a publicly-traded bitcoin ETF in Canada — the CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF. 

As of March 31, the fund holds about $1 billion in assets under management. Galaxy only lately appointed Alex Ioffe, formerly a finance chief at Virtu Financial, as its new CFO. 

Billionaire Mike Novogratz recently said he expects bitcoin to overtake gold's market value as more institutional players enter the space. "The more people involved in this space, the more big firms, if it's Tesla, or MicroStrategy, or Goldman, or Morgan Stanley, the more wealthy individuals - the harder it is politically to say 'hey we don't like this anymore'," he said.

The race is heating up as Galaxy follows eight other firms in applying for a bitcoin ETF. Regulators are weighing applications from Grayscale Investments, Fidelity, VanEck, Anthony Scaramucci's SkyBridge Capital, WisdomTree InvestmentsNYDIG, and Valkyrie Digital Assets.

But it's unclear when the SEC might approve any applications, or whether it could happen at all.

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, popularly known as the "crypto mom," has cited a period of leadership transition that's causing delays. But she is optimistic that SEC Chairman nominee Gary Gensler will mark a turning point for crypto regulation in the US this year.

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