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News/SEC Tango: Expert Predictions on the Future of Bitcoin ETFs

SEC Tango: Expert Predictions on the Future of Bitcoin ETFs

Van Thanh Le

Oct 19 2023

7 months ago4 minutes read
Robot analyzing Bitcoin and legal scales hologram

The Evolution of ETF: The Amended Proposal

Navigating the uncharted landscape of cryptocurrencies, Fidelity Investments masterstrokes a unique strategy through its amended proposal of a Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). 

Announced on October 19, 2023, the revision is a breakdown of comprehensive measures aimed at securing customers' Bitcoin in custody accounts. The caveat arrives with a stark revelation of risks teetering on the fluctuating regulatory landscape of the enigmatic cryptocurrency world. 

Fidelity and SEC handshake merge.webp

Before Fidelity, the sequential actions of ARK Invest and Invesco also represent this strategic redirection. Their amended and refiled spot Bitcoin ETF applications in the month of October reflect a continued dialogue with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

Additionally, Cathie Wood, ARK Invest CEO, confirmed the ongoing conversations with the SEC. ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood confirmed this dialogue, stating, "We responded to the SEC request for information surrounding our Bitcoin filing. The SEC chose to engage, which is a change in behavior." 

It demonstrates a radical change in the regulator's behavior, opening avenues to construct in-depth dialogues around Bitcoin ETFs. 


The Sensitivity of the Market and Financial Forecasts 

The market's hypersensitivity to Bitcoin and ETF related news is evident in the sensational growth attributed to a recent fake news headline. 

spurious headline declaring the SEC's approval of BlackRock's spot BTC ETF led to a precipitous surge of 7%, catapulting Bitcoin price to an incredible high of $30,000. This surge spiraled into a whirlpool of market liquidations exceeding $100 million within an hour, displaying the market's volatility to ETF-related news.  

chart (1).webp

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink commented on the recent Bitcoin rally, attributing it to "pent-up interest in crypto." He described it as a "flight to quality" amid various global crises, including issues around the Israeli war and global terrorism.

Meanwhile, analysts from K33 Research echo similar sentiments, predicting that market reactions to ETF approvals could eclipse previous market dynamics. They forewarn the collapse of the market post an ETF rejection, albeit without revealing specific numbers. 

How the BTC rally unfolded on Monday (K33 Research) (1).webp
Source: K33 Research

Alessandro Ottaviani, a crypto analyst, estimates that every dollar injected into the Bitcoin market could increase BTC’s market cap by a remarkable $100. Extrapolating this prediction, a $200 billion capital influx could inflate Bitcoin's market cap to an astronomical $21 trillion. 

CryptoQuant, a cryptocurrency market analytics firm, envisages Wall Street titans allocating a mere 1% of their Assets Under Management (AUM) to Bitcoin ETFs. This subtle shift could usher in approximately $155 billion into the Bitcoin market. Consequently, this could potentially double Bitcoin’s existing price, pushing it beyond its standing value of around $28,550. 


Regulatory Checkpoints and Legal Paradigms

Recently, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler engaged in a conversation with Bloomberg Television, intertwining another layer of ambiguity around spot Bitcoin ETFs. Gensler hinted at approximately ten Bitcoin ETF proposals awaiting scrutiny. 

Smartly sidestepping whether the SEC might greenlight multiple spot Bitcoin ETFs simultaneously, Gensler validated that the SEC was diligently working on "multiple filings" and providing issuers constructive feedback. 

Crystal ball with Bitcoin and question mark.webp

Interestingly, Gensler described this course of action as a "time-tested process" operational for decades. Though he refrained from revealing the specifics of the SEC's dialogue with ETF issuers, he mentioned that the SEC didn't appeal against the court decision backing Grayscale's attempt to transform its GBTC fund into a Bitcoin spot ETF. However, he left the status of the application shrouded in mystery.

Gensler's comments surfaced amidst a social media rumor claiming the SEC's approval of BlackRock's spot Bitcoin ETF proposal—an erroneous report that sparked a temporary Bitcoin price rally.


Navigating the Regulatory Terrain and Legal Paradigm Shifts

In the complex world of cryptocurrencies, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler treads cautiously. His reserved stance on spot Bitcoin ETFs adds uncertainty, further deepening the complexity of the regulatory maze. 

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) recently reached its lowest net asset value (NAV) premium discount since December 9, 2021. This followed a legal victory against the SEC, which has decided not to appeal an August 29 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

gbtc nav (1).webp
GBTC NAV. Source: YChart

The pressure to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF has been mounting, especially after Grayscale Investments secured a court win in August. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the SEC had to re-review its bid for a spot Bitcoin ETF, and the SEC has no plans to appeal that ruling.


Anticipating Price Impacts and Monitoring Market Capitalization 

The proposed Bitcoin ETF, if approved, could result in monumental price shifts. Projections from CryptoQuant suggest a spot Bitcoin ETF could trigger a price surge of 155%, catapulting the price from a modest $28,550 to a staggering high of $73,000. 

Outlandish predictions even depict a future where the price of Bitcoin could irreversibly breach the coveted $1 million mark, assuming the approval of a spot ETF becomes a reality. 

A shift in investment is also expected from holders of precious metal ETFs. These ETFs have a market cap of approximately $120 billion, and between 10-20% of these investors might consider a Bitcoin ETF as a diversification tool. This could amount to an additional $12-24 billion investments into the Bitcoin market.

Still, amidst the wave of optimism, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler maintains his cautious stance. He emphasized that Bitcoin ETF applications aren’t mere formalities. Each is subject to an elaborate review process engaging multiple divisions within the SEC. This level of scrutiny serves as a reminder: these are uncharted territories for investments, and every step forward is made with due diligence.


Grayscale's Strategic Moves with SEC and NYSE

Taking a more assertive stance in the crypto market, Grayscale Investments has set its course towards a major milestone. The investment company has lodged an S-3 form registration statement with the SEC, a critical stride aimed at listing the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) on the NYSE Arca. Holding the distinction of being the world's largest Bitcoin fund, GBTC boasts an impressive $17.7 billion of assets under management (AUM). 

Tightrope walker between Fidelity and SEC skyscrapers.webp

The S-3 form is a more concise version of the standard S-1 form, specifically tailored to suit initial public offerings of equity securities. This strategic choice is made possible because, since January 2020, Grayscale's shares have been registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, enabling the use of the shorter S-3 form.

The tactics deployed by Grayscale indicate a plan in motion – a plan contingent on NYSE Arca's 19b-4 application securing the green light and the SEC declaring the S-3 form effective. Once these pieces fall into place, Grayscale can convert GBTC to an ETF. This strategic shift was expedited by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordering the SEC to justifiably explain its initial rejection of Grayscale's application back in June 2023.


Grayscale’s Diversification and Predictions for Bitcoin ETF Approvals

Grayscale, however, isn't just focused on Bitcoin; it's diversifying. An application filed with the SEC in September indicates an intent to list an Ether futures ETF. A team of analysts from JPMorgan, led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, believes approvals for spot Bitcoin ETFs will arrive in a matter of months, specifying January 10, 2024 as a tipping point.

Treasure chest with glowing Bitcoin and SEC lock.webp

The SEC’s decision to let its appeal deadline pass in Grayscale’s case has been perceived as a positive development, imbuing the crypto market with optimism for multiple spot Bitcoin ETF approvals. However, its ripple effects could prompt Grayscale’s GBTC product to lower its fees in light of the rising likelihood of ETF approval.


Institutional Involvement and Dynamic Asset Management

The impending spot Bitcoin ETF piques the interest of financial juggernauts BlackRock, VanEck, and Fidelity Investments. These institutions manage a collective asset pool amounting to trillions of dollars. Consequently, even a marginal allocation to Bitcoin could induce seismic shifts in asset management paradigms. 

If these institutions allocate a negligible 1% of their total AUM (around $15.6 trillion) to Bitcoin ETFs, an eye-watering sum of approximately $155 billion could flow into the Bitcoin market. 

Moreover, Michael Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital Holdings, has voiced his conviction that Spot Bitcoin ETFs will be greenlit by the end of this year. His prediction rests on recent court rulings and the soaring public sentiment favoring cryptocurrencies. 

Reflecting on the SEC's recent legal hurdles, Novogratz posits, "The judge has said, 'What are you talking about SEC? You have a futures ETF and you're saying you can't have a cash ETF. That makes intellectually zero sense.'"

Spotlight on microphone for expert opinions.webp

Moreover, Galaxy Digital's partnership with Invesco on a spot Bitcoin ETF application reveals a layer of vested interest brewing underneath the approval process. Taking a cue from lawmakers pressing SEC Chair Gary Gensler for a regulated spot Bitcoin ETF, Novogratz augmented his view stating it would promote transparency, safety, and investor protection. 

Crucially, file-weights like BlackRock's commitment to chasing a Bitcoin ETF approval bolsters Novogratz's arguments, further attesting to his claim-"The American public wants this."

Matrixport's analysis speculates that a $24 billion increase in Tether's (USDT) market cap alone could launch Bitcoin's price up to $42,000. Moreover, a recommendation for a 1% allocation by Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) could lead to a whopping $50 billion influx, pushing Bitcoin beyond the $56,000 mark.

The US RIA community, a substantial group of around 15,000 members, manages an estimated $5 trillion in assets. They have substantial influence in shaping investment decisions and could play a crucial role in the acceptance and growth of Bitcoin ETFs.


Key Insights 

The Bitcoin ETF landscape, a complex mix of speculation, regulation, and high financial stakes, is shaping Bitcoin's future. The potential capital influx indicated by financial models could drastically affect Bitcoin's market cap and crypto price

While the market's volatility responds sharply to news and legal developments, the cryptocurrency market's future hangs on the Bitcoin ETF approval or rejection, forecasting either massive growth or significant market correction.


FAQs

1. What changes did Fidelity Investments make to its proposed Bitcoin ETF?

Fidelity updated its proposal to detail measures to protect customers' Bitcoin in custody accounts and threw light on the volatile regulatory landscape in crypto.

2. How has the market reacted to news about Bitcoin ETFs?

Every news, true or false, about Bitcoin ETFs has been shown to significantly influence investor sentiments and crypto price.

3. How does the SEC factor into the Bitcoin ETF scenario?

The SEC is currently reviewing proposals and its decision to approve or reject Bitcoin ETFs can trigger significant market shifts. 

4. What could be the potential impact of a Bitcoin ETF approval?

Analysts predict outcomes ranging from a 155% price surge to inflows of up to $155 billion into the Bitcoin market.

5. Which institutions are vying to issue a spot Bitcoin ETF?

Major players include BlackRock, VanEck, and Fidelity Investments, amongst others.

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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