Blockworks podcast guests ruminate on bitcoin ETF buzz

A range of podcast guests discuss their perspectives on bitcoin ETF excitement

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K.unshu/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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The crypto world is abuzz with spot bitcoin ETF excitement — and many of the Blockworks podcast library’s recent guests have contributed their two Sats to the ongoing story.

Matt Hougan, chief investment officer at Bitwise, compares the current spot bitcoin ETF fervor with the advent of gold ETFs, launched in the early 2000’s. Like bitcoin, before ETFs, gold was not held by mainstream institutions, either.  

It’s easy to forget, but “gold was the land of tinfoil hats and crazy people,” he says, “stockpiling baked beans and guns and putting gold bars underneath their mattress.”

On a recent Empire podcast (Spotify/Apple), Hougan explains, “there were no mutual funds that allowed you to get exposure to gold. There were almost no gold mining funds. You couldn’t bring it up in common conversation.”

Following the approval of gold ETFs, Hougan says, “all of a sudden, over a period of about three to four years, it transformed into what it is today, which is this institutional asset.”

Read more: A crypto perfect storm? Bond yields, ETF news collide with bitcoin rally

Hougan adds that the price of gold climbed for 11 consecutive years following the launch of ETFs, “which it had never done in modern history.”

“Over that 11 year span, $100 billion floated to those gold ETFs, and it didn’t disrupt the other demand for gold,” he says. 

People often wonder if a spot bitcoin ETF will disrupt retail demand for the asset, he says, but “that’s not what gold shows us.”

Only BlackRock?

Amongst the most bullish of Blockworks’ podcast guests is Morgan Creek Capital’s Mark Yusko. The outspoken crypto advocate, chief investment officer and managing director has remained steadfast in his belief that BlackRock will be anointed the sole spot bitcoin ETF provider. 

Speaking on the On the Margin podcast (Spotify/Apple), he confidently declares, “BlackRock is going to be approved.”

Read more: BlackRock takes apparent new step in bitcoin ETF prep

“They are going to be approved first,” he says, adding, “I still believe they’re going to be approved only. Only BlackRock.”

On the same podcast, Blockworks co-founder Michael Ippolito adds that with Federal Reserve rates peaking, bitcoin, like gold, was due for a market turnaround. “More critically,” he says, “[gold] actually trades based on the expectation, the forward looking expectation of real rates.”

Real rates are “going to trend the other way,” which should cause bitcoin to respond positively, too, he says.

False start sparks real rally?

Reflecting on the false start that may well have sparked a real rally on the Bell Curve podcast (Spotify/Apple), Blockworks co-founder Michael Ippolito notes that the market retraced the brief gains seen following the fake ETF approval post earlier in the past week.

This leads Ippolito to assert that a real ETF approval is not yet priced in. “If a spot Bitcoin ETF does get approved, and that’s looking pretty likely by February, then the market probably is going to move.”

Framework Ventures co-founder Michael Anderson notes that a number of potential ETFs, including Ark and BlackRock, are “lined up” for a decision deadline in mid-January of next year.

“Something will happen in that period of time and it could happen sooner,” he says, “but yeah, I think there’s positive sentiment on the ETF.”

With BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s recent description of bitcoin as a “flight to quality” and the potential advent of an institutional acceptance of bitcoin, a pool of traditional finance buyers who have stood on the sidelines might finally be “unlocked,” Ippolito suggests. 

“They need people that they respect and look up to, essentially blessing this stuff.” 

“This is really the super bowl,” says Framework Ventures co-founder Vance Spencer. “It’s 7 trillion [dollars] of registered investment advisor assets.”


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