- Pundits are bullish that a pure-play Bitcoin ETF is just around the corner as it signifies the next big step for the SEC.
- Investors have clamored for a spot Bitcoin ETF even after the approval of futures Bitcoin ETFs.
- The SEC rejected VanEck’s application for a spot Bitcoin ETF two weeks ago, souring the mood for investors.
After the approval of Bitcoin futures ETFs by the SEC, the next obvious step by the Securities and Exchange Commission is the approval of spot ETFs. Gemini’s Global Head of Business Development thinks an approval is imminent and could even happen in the first quarter of 2022.
Spot Bitcoin ETF Is In Play
Dave Abner, Global Head of Business Development for Gemini thinks the SEC will eventually approve a spot Bitcoin ETF this year. The exchange executive made his thoughts known in a recent interview with CNBC on Wednesday, providing an answer to the SEC’s crypto conundrum.
He began by stating that the Commission is adopting a meticulous stance on the question of cryptocurrencies and is not making any brash decisions. Abner goes on to hail the launch of the Bitcoin futures ETF and says as the SEC gains more control over the crypto markets, spot Bitcoin ETFs are the “perfect next step” for the Commission.
“The futures strategies fund shows investors that crypto is an investable asset class and so the SEC is taking these progressive steps to move us forward,” Abner said. “I thought we will be there by the end of this year and I thought the VanEck physical fund will get approved. I am still very bullish and I think the SEC knows exactly what they’re doing and I think we’re on that path.”
Other pointers for Abner include the development of the market for regulated custodians and the massive success of future-based ETFs with over $1 billion flowing in. He believes that this signals that the markets have matured and all the SEC is waiting for is greater regulatory powers. He predicts that this could happen in the first quarter of 2022.
On the other hand, Tom Lyndon, CEO of ETF Trends does not share the same enthusiasm with Dave Abner regarding the timeline for approval. Lyndon notes that the absence of spot Bitcoin ETFs creates a “handcuffing” situation in the adviser community. “I think we will eventually see it,” said Lyndon. “Fingers crossed, by the end of 2022.”
Gemini made the first formal application for a Bitcoin ETF way back in 2013 and it took the SEC nearly 8 years to approve applications. In October, the Commission approved the first Bitcoin ETF from ProShares with others following shortly after.
The drawbacks of the future-based ETFs were obvious from the start. Firstly, a contango effect could occur when the future price of the commodity exceeds the expected future spot price. Furthermore, there is the issue that the ETF might not accurately track price.
“Investors in futures-based ETF funds will be exposed to additional price volatility risk and tracking discrepancies between bitcoin and futures prices,” Alastair Sewell from the rating agency, Fitch.
Grayscale and other institutions have thrown their hats in the ring for approval for a spot Bitcoin ETF by the SEC.