Crypto Biz: Franklin Templeton doubles down on crypto, Bakkt seeks capital, and more


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Trillion-dollar asset manager Franklin Templeton is jumping on another crypto product, now seeking approval for a spot Ether exchange-traded fund (ETF). Akin to ARK 21Shares, Franklin wants to incorporate staking into its Ether ETF to generate additional income, according to its filing on Feb. 12.

The companies are vying with BlackRock, VanEck, Fidelity, Invesco Galaxy, Grayscale and Hashdex for regulatory approval, with final decisions due between May and August.

This week’s headlines also include Bakkt’s approval to raise capital. With cash running low, the company sought permission from regulators to issue more shares over the next three years.

Meanwhile, digital asset investment manager CoinShares turned things around and returned a profit for the fourth quarter of 2023, a significant recovery year-over-year.

In this week’s Crypto Biz, we look at Franklin Templeton’s entry into the Ether ETF race, Ripple’s new custody acquisition, Bakkt’s sale of securities and CoinShares’ Q4 earnings.

Franklin Templeton joins the spot Ethereum ETF race

Franklin Templeton has become the latest Wall Street firm to apply for a spot Ether (ETH) ETF in the United States. The asset management firm submitted the S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission on Feb. 12. If approved, it would be listed as “Franklin Ethereum ETF” on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. In addition, Franklin signaled its intention to stake a portion of the ETF’s Ether to produce additional income, similar to ARK 21Shares’ revised S-1 filing last week. The company recently praised the network fundamentals of Ethereum, Solana and other blockchains, leading to speculation that the ETF issuer may expand its crypto services.

Ripple acquires Standard Custody & Trust, its second custody provider

Ripple has acquired Standard Custody & Trust Company, a U.S. digital asset custody provider. The company offers custody and escrow services under a charter granted by the New York State Department of Financial Services and is a qualified custodian in accordance with federal legislation. Standard already had ties to Ripple through its executives. Along with its subsidiaries, Ripple already holds a New York BitLicense and nearly 40 money transmitter licenses in American states, it said. The terms of the deal were not made public.

Bakkt approved for $150M securities sale to stem its cash bleed

Crypto firm Bakkt has received regulatory approval to raise as much as $150 million through the sale of its securities, coming just a week after the firm signaled concerns over its balance sheet. The firm is said to have obtained approval for a “shelf registration,” which allows the new issue of securities to be gradually sold over time without requiring separate approvals. The green light will allow Bakkt to raise an aggregate of $150 million in capital in one or more offerings over three years. Bakkt offers crypto custody and trading services. The company recently disclosed cash flow issues and sought permission to raise additional capital. Bakkt has reported eight successive quarters of net losses since it was publicly listed in October 2021.

CoinShares declares $108M revenue in 2023 earnings report

Investment platform CoinShares declared $108.5 million in annual revenue in its fourth-quarter report for 2023. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were around $32.51 million. Compared with its earnings in 2022, CoinShares recorded a significant recovery in 2023. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the company’s EBITDA was negative $30.11 million, while its total income was negative $46.94 million. The company posted a 109% increase in assets under management year-over-year to $3.8 billion, driven by the digital asset price recovery and net inflows into its products.

Before you go: Ether could reach $27,000 at the top of the current bull cycle, predicts Ethereum community member and investor Ryan Berckmans. As one of the main catalysts for a possible appreciation, Berckmans points to the lack of selling pressure from miners since the Merge upgrade.

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