SEC has been ‘backed into a corner’ on BTC ETF approval — Bloomberg analyst

    2024.01.05 | exchangesranking | 78onlookers

    The United States Securities and Exchange Commission “has been backed into a corner” to approve a spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), in the opinion of Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart. 

    During a private webinar with CryptoQuant on Jan. 4, Seyffart said the investment vehicle has a 90% chance of receiving the green light next week, although challenges may still arise:

    “The SEC is either going to have to come up with a new reason. [...] Because you’ve been denying these ETFs for all these reasons. Courts said those reasons don’t matter anymore, and now you’re coming out with new reasons. [...] I don’t think that’s an option for the SEC. The other option is get them to withdraw, in which case, again, I don’t think that’s likely because the SEC is backed into a corner here. I think they have to approve.”

    Seyffart’s comments refer to the latest developments following BlackRock's filing for a spot BTC ETF in June. Since then, SEC officials have held dozens of meetings with asset managers in line for approval, addressing concerns and requesting adjustments. In addition, the regulator lost a court battle in August with one of the firms in the race, Grayscale, over the conversion of its over-the-counter Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into a listed BTC ETF.

    In addition, the analyst shared his thoughts on Matrixport’s latest report on a potential rejection of all proposals. “We just completely disagree, to be honest,” he noted, clarifying that concerns about the approval requirements or Coinbase’s role in surveillance agreements have been addressed over the previous months through amendments made by asset managers.

    “And then the third option, which is the one I’m kind of worried about at the back of my mind, is like somebody going nuclear. Like Gary just kind of doing, I guess denying would be going nuclear. [...] Which I don’t think that’s going to happen either. This is a super huge tail risk event.”

    A go-ahead in the coming days could bring $10 billion in inflows to Bitcoin ETFs in the first year, according to Seyffart. “I do not think we’re going to get over $100 billion in the first year or two. [...] To put in perspective, gold ETFs have about $100 billion in the U.S. in total.”

    Furthermore, Seyffart warned that widespread adoption could take weeks, or even months, since institutional investors will likely carry out due diligence before adding the cryptocurrency to their portfolios.

    “A lot of the big institutions, these warehouses, these platforms where brokers or advisers work, they can’t just buy anything they want. There’s like an approved list and a not approved list," the analyst explained.

    “You got to realize these are some of the most sophisticated traders in the world [...] It’s not like some random person in their basement clicking buy on Coinbase. [...] These are sophisticated people getting exposure."

    The final decision by the SEC is due by Jan. 10. Seyffart anticipates a collective approval for all the applicants, noting that Grayscale’s conversion might require a few additional days compared to the other proposed funds.

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