A Bitcoin ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) approval would enable the US market to predict and trade on Bitcoin prices without actually having to buy and sell Bitcoin [BTC]. The fund would track the price of the underlying asset, which can be Bitcoin alone or a basket of assets including other cryptocurrencies or other equities, bonds or commodities as well.
The Securities Exchange Commission is the regulatory authority that approves or denies a specific request to launch a new ETF on the market. There are more than nine Bitcoin ETF applications pending with the SEC. Moreover, the SEC also received a new crypto-basked (Bitcoin and Ethereum) based ETF application.
Reportedly, the total capital of the US ETF market is about $5 trillion. Even if 1% of the trading moves to Bitcoin, it will effectively increase the market capitalization of Bitcoin alone by $50 billion.
Industry Experts Weigh SEC Options
Jake Chervinsky, an Attorney at Kobe and Kim LLP. had noted on May 17, 2019, that,
“The SEC delayed the Bitwise bitcoin ETF two days ago but still hasn’t made a decision on VanEck. This is unusual: the SEC would normally handle both ETFs at once. The VanEck deadline is next Tuesday. I still think the delay is overwhelmingly likely, but the timing has me curious.”
The comments are likely to get the hopes high for any Bitcoin bull. However, according to the filing dates, the deadline for Bitwise was on 16th May, while the deadline for the re-applied Van Eck proposal in 21st May.
The VanEck proposal was withdrawn and re-submitted by the firm itself on 20 February 2019. The deadline for which was a 45-day period which ends on 21st May 2019.
Furthermore, in a recent interview with Ran Neuner from CNBC fast money, Hector Pirce, the SEC Commissioner hinted at a further delay. She said,
“I am still optimistic. Don’t hold your breath. Market manipulation are issues that get a lots of attention at the SEC.”
Hence, the positive outcome for bulls would be a delay in the approval over a complete rejection.
Jake Chervinsky also predicted that there is a 75% probability that the proposal will be delayed and 0.1% probability of an approval. He said in a recent tweet,
“In the past, the SEC has typically bundled together all of its decisions on pending bitcoin ETFs & announced them on the same day… To be fair, the fact that the SEC delayed Bitwise & stayed silent on VanEck could mean nothing at all. He went on to say that, “Bitcoin has been very volatile recently & investigations related to fraud & manipulation have ramped up (like NYAG & Bitfinex). The SEC has no reason or incentive to come out in favor of bitcoin in this environment.”
The Bitcoin ETF proposal has been pending the markets for six years since its first application. The SEC has denied and delayed, and all of them until now. Nevertheless, a denial or delay is unlikely to dampen market spirits.
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