With bitcoin ETF decision imminent, industry watchers debate if SEC will delay  

Bloomberg Intelligence analysts are bullish on January approval. Matrixport’s head of research isn’t. What are others saying?

article-image

AevanStock/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

share

Those closely following the spot bitcoin ETF saga probably already know Bloomberg Intelligence analysts put the chances of approval in the coming week at 90%.

But not all see it that way. 

Markus Thielen, head of research for crypto platform Matrixport, said Tuesday he believes all such applications “fall short of a critical requirement” — adding that US Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler “still sees this industry in need of more stringent compliance.”

Read more: SEC delaying spot bitcoin ETFs ‘not impossible,’ but unlikely: Balchunas

As the SEC’s Jan. 10 deadline to rule on a proposal by Ark Invest and 21Shares approaches, other industry watchers continue to debate these funds’ fate. 

Stefan Rust, CEO data provider Truflation, said he agrees Gensler has not given any indication he is ready to give a bitcoin ETF the green light. 

“Governments and regulators haven’t yet identified how they can exert control over cryptocurrencies,” Rust argued in a statement. “No doubt they are looking for more time and choke points to inhibit access to cryptocurrencies from a decentralized system.”

Chase White and Joe Flynn, analysts at Compass Point Research & Trading, said in a Dec. 15 note that recent meetings between fund issuers and the SEC support the firm’s base case of January spot bitcoin ETF approval. The regulator could hold off though, they added.

“We think there’s a chance the SEC isn’t quite ready to approve ETFs in early [January] and will ask Ark Invest [and] 21Shares…to refile the application to give the SEC more time, rather than reject it outright,” White and Flynn wrote.

But Scott Johnsson, general partner at Van Buren Capital, said in a series of X posts Wednesday he is confident approval will come between Jan. 8 and Jan. 10. 

Read more: Industry watchers pin down possible bitcoin ETF approval dates

He added: “There’s no more bullets in the SEC’s gun.”

Loading Tweet..

The SEC’s August court loss to Grayscale Investments put more pressure on the regulator to approve spot bitcoin ETFs, industry watchers and executives have argued. Judges in the case said the regulator’s decision to deny the conversion of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) to an ETF — but approve bitcoin futures ETFs — was “arbitrary and capricious.” 

Alex Thorn, head of research at Galaxy Digital, called several arguments in the Matrixport report “nonsensical” in an X post, citing Grayscale’s court win. Galaxy has proposed a spot bitcoin ETF with partner Invesco.

Matrixport co-founder Jihan Wu defended Thielen’s report, saying he believes spot bitcoin ETF approval at some point is “inevitable.” Thielen did not return a request for comment. 

Lucas Kiely, chief investment officer of digital wealth platform Yield App, called bitcoin’s Wednesday price dip “a buying opportunity.”

Should the SEC once again reject bitcoin ETFs, it would this time be blocking attempts from not just crypto-focused firms, but from fund giants such as BlackRock, Fidelity, Invesco and Franklin Templeton.

BlackRock, which manages roughly $9 trillion in assets, has only ever had one ETF proposal rejected by the SEC — a so-called non-transparent fund structure in 2014.

“There is too much pressure and expectation from the world’s biggest asset managers for Gary Gensler and the rest of the approval committee to keep kicking the can down the road,” Kiely said.


Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire newsletter.

Explore the growing intersection between crypto, macroeconomics, policy and finance with Ben Strack, Casey Wagner and Felix Jauvin. Subscribe to the On the Margin newsletter.

The Lightspeed newsletter is all things Solana, in your inbox, every day. Subscribe to daily Solana news from Jack Kubinec and Jeff Albus.

Tags

Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

MON - TUES, OCT. 7 - 8, 2024

Blockworks and Bankless in collaboration with buidlbox are excited to announce the second installment of the Permissionless Hackathon – taking place October 7-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve partnered with buidlbox to bring together the brightest minds in crypto for […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

AERODROME TEMPLATE.png

Research

Aerodrome is a "MetaDEX" that combines elements of various DEX primitives such as Uniswap V2 and V3, Curve, Convex, and Votium. Since its launch on Base, it has become the largest protocol by TVL with more than $495M in value locked, doubling Uniswap's Base deployment.

article-image

And a look into the newest name on the Trump ticket: Sen. JD Vance

article-image

Plus, Imran Khan’s intriguing experiment on the speeds of crypto onramps

article-image

The SEC has signaled a timeline to issuers that could lead to a July 23 launch for the ETH funds, people close to the process told Blockworks

article-image

PayPal has unequivocally made a name for itself as a crypto adopter among fintech giants

article-image

Also, a look into how the highly-debated SAB 121 could end up shaking out for crypto custodians

article-image

Vance, an Ohio Republican, is largely seen as crypto-friendly