Cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds are coming to America.

While the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has yet to weigh in on the March 1 filing from Cboe BZX Exchange to approve listing and trading of the VanEck Bitcoin Trust, the weight of the water behind the regulatory dam appears so great at this point that le deluge is inevitable.

Even with cryptocurrency exchange-traded products already available in Europe and Canada, a U.S.-listed product could send a shock wave through the investing world.

“It will be the single most important force in driving down the cost of investing in cryptocurrency,” said Matt Hougan, chief investment officer at Bitwise Asset Management. Mr. Hougan sees the emergence of a U.S. bitcoin ETF as a watershed moment similar to the 2004 listing of the SPDR Gold Trust.

According to the World Gold Council, gold ETFs held $198 billion in assets globally through March 5, with half of that in U.S.-listed products. And similar to gold and other commodity exchange-traded products, the proposed product from VanEck, as well as similar offerings from NYDIG, Valkyrie, and WisdomTree Investments, would be structured as grantor trusts under the Securities Act of 1933, as opposed to mutual funds regulated by the Investment Company Act of 1940.

Retail and institutional investors already have many ways to invest in or use cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether (tracked on a blockchain built for smart contracts), but these methods — including direct holding — can include complicated security and custody arrangements.

The advent of a U.S. ETF
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