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Cryptogambling / SEC approves 11 asset managers to launch spot Bitcoin ETF

SEC approves 11 asset managers to launch spot Bitcoin ETF

Publish Date: 11/01/2024
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On Wednesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the launch of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for 11 asset managers — BlackRock (BLK.N), Ark Investments and 21Shares (ABTC.S), Fidelity, Invesco (IVZ.N), VanEck, WisdomTree, Grayscale, Hashdex, Valkyrie, BZX and Franklin.

According to a document on the SEC website, the agency has given the green light to these asset managers on an accelerated basis. This comes after a social media post falsely claimed the approvals had already been given about 24 hours earlier.

“After careful review, the Commission finds that the Proposals are consistent with the Exchange Act and rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange,” the document reads.

The SEC document stressed that the ETF proposals comply with the Exchange Act and relevant regulations. This follows criticism of a prior ruling, seen as arbitrary, rejecting Grayscale’s attempt to turn its Bitcoin trust into an ETF. Grayscale has now confirmed it received regulatory approvals to list its Bitcoin trust as an ETF on the NYSE Arca.

The 11 approved ETFs, enabling direct investment in Bitcoin instead of derivatives, are predicted to draw billions of dollars within the first few weeks of trading.

The SEC’s approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs is likely to offer investors a regulated and easier way to invest in Bitcoin, potentially fostering greater adoption and stability in the crypto market.

With this approval, the regulator also allows everyday investors to get exposure to the world’s largest cryptocurrency without having to own it.

Before gaining SEC approval, ETF applicants offered the lowest fees to attract investors. For example, Bitwise set a zero fee for the first six months or until reaching $1 billion in assets, then 0.2 percent afterwards. BlackRock offered a discounted fee of 0.2 percent for the initial 12 months or until the fund reached $5 billion in assets, followed by an increase to 0.3 percent.

SEC chair warns investors

SEC chairman Gary Gensler confirmed the approval but warned investors, saying, “Investors should remain cautious about the myriad risks associated with bitcoin and products whose value is tied to crypto.”

He also emphasized that the SEC approved the “listing” and “trading” of Bitcoin ETFs but not endorse them.

Gensler reiterated SEC’s position on cryptocurrency, highlighting Bitcoin’s “speculative” nature compared to the practical uses of precious metals like gold, silver and platinum.

“Though we’re merit neutral, I’d note that the underlying assets in the metals ETPs have consumer and industrial uses, while in contrast Bitcoin is primarily a speculative, volatile asset that’s also used for illicit activity including ransomware, money laundering, sanction evasion, and terrorist financing,” said Gensler.

Regarding the approval, he did not express opinions on specific companies, investments, or the assets behind an ETF.

Meanwhile, SEC Commissioner Caroline Crenshaw shared his view on the SEC’s actions, describing them as “unsound and ahistorical.”

“I am concerned that these products will flood the markets and land squarely in the retirement accounts of US households who can least afford to lose their savings to the fraud and manipulation that appears prevalent in the spot bitcoin markets,” she said.

Bitcoin surges to $47K

Bitcoin prices hit $47,000 after the SEC approved ETFs, and traders are now waiting to see how much money these products attract, per Bloomberg.

The SEC decision is seen by some as a significant move that expands the investor base for digital assets. Over the past 12 months, Bitcoin surged more than 160 percent, anticipating the ETFs and expecting more lenient monetary policies.

Other major cryptocurrencies had varied performances. Ether rose nine percent in the past 24 hours, reaching $2,587.

Orbit Markets co-founder Caroline Mauron said that the information has mostly been factored into the market, and there will be a close watch on the inflows into the ETFs.

DeFi asset manager Hashnote founder Leo Mizuhara explained that most of the money entering Bitcoin ETFs immediately will come from reallocating existing Bitcoin holdings.

“It will take time for new money to flow into Bitcoin via the new ETFs,” Mizuhara said.

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