SEC Taking Time to Approve Bitcoin ETF Makes “Perfect Sense” Says Bitwise, Even Gold Took a While

2,500 of the world’s foremost investment professional descended on Hollywood this week to talk exchange-traded funds (ETFs). While much of the discussion between the who’s who on Wall Street was centered around traditional vehicles, talk surrounding Bitcoin (BTC)  and cryptocurrency products came to light.
In an interview with CNBC’s Bob Pisani, a leading representative of the cryptocurrency space expressed optimism towards the launch of a product, which could thaw BTC out of a price crash-induced cold snap.
Related Reading: Bitcoin ETF Approval Could Ease EU Regulators Concerns About Crypto
SEC Is Coming To Understand Crypto’s Issues
Bitwise Asset Management CEO Hunter Horsley, a guest on CNBC’s segment, first noted that by many, if not most measures (save for price), 2018 was a solid year for crypto’s facets. Horsley remarked that while token values plummeted, in “everything you can wish for,” strides were made, especially in terms of market structure and participation. He drew attention to Fidelity’s up-and-coming custody product, CME’s and CBOE’s futures, along with participation from university endowments, Facebook, and Samsung to give his point some credence.
So, he concluded that cryptocurrencies as an asset class are in their “most viable” state ever. That led Horsley to his next point, as he remarked that considering the market conditions, a crypto-linked ETF could be the logical next step.

Fun chatting with CNBC’s @BobPisani at #InsideETFs today. We spoke about the @BitwiseInvest @NYSE Bitcoin ETF filing and the state of the crypto market coming out of 2018. https://t.co/H8u8FAoAjO
— Hunter Horsley (@HHorsley) February 12, 2019

First, the Bitwise C-suite member remarked that his firm’s S-1 application, filed just weeks ago, will be reviewed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in March.
Then, when questioned by the CNBC anchor regarding the SEC’s apparent fears of market manipulation, a byproduct of nascent, overseas-based markets, and custody, Horsley responded with confidence.
The former Facebook and Instagram product manager explained that from his firm’s point of view, the SEC has “a lot more understanding in place” regarding the state of cryptocurrency markets. And while “the numbers you see on various crypto-related websites [often] aren’t accurate,” Horsley pointed out that a fleshed-out comprehension of the industry’s inner workings is what truly matters. Concluding his comments on the SEC’s role in the Bitcoin ETF realm on an optimistic note, the industry heavyweight stated:
“Leverage ETFs took five years. Actively-managed ETFs took six or seven years. Even gold, which has been around for thousands of years and had a product in Australia, took three years from S-1 to initial launch. And I think that the fact that the SEC has taken a couple of years to get comfortable with [cryptocurrencies] makes complete sense. It’s not that they are anti-crypto, but they’re pro-investor.”
The Bitwise chief executive’s hopeful comments come just a day after Ric Edelman, a well-respected American investor with decades in the business, quipped that the launch of Bitcoin ETF has an inevitability. Per previous reports from this very outlet, Edelman, a world-renowned financial services guru, noted that trading of a cryptocurrency product on U.S. markets is a matter of “when,” not “if.”

Like Horsley, the Philadelphia-based investors explained that the regulatory incumbents with jurisdiction over digital assets are slowly coming to terms with the state of this embryonic space.
The Importance Of A Bitcoin ETF
In response to a query from CNBC host Pisani regarding the potential impact that a crypto fund would have on the ecosystem, Horsley noted that for a vast number of investors, an ETF would be an “enabling moment,” whereas thousands, if not millions of consumers would suddenly be enticed to make a proper foray into the Bitcoin realm.
While Horsley seems to be in agreement with the theory that a publicly-traded cryptocurrency fund could be the greatest thing to ever happen to this ecosystem, some have politely refuted this thought process.
Just yesterday, Alec “RhythmTrader” Ziupsyns noted that if Square, a fintech upstart headed by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, integrates the Lightning Network, the effect on the market would be larger than a Bitcoin ETF and Bakkt combined.

Even Anthony Pompliano noted that there’s a fleeting chance that the eventual launch of a Bitcoin ETF could not turn out as some expect, as the hype surrounding such a product could be overstated. In an interview with BlockTV conducted in January, the Morgan Creek Digital co-founder postulated that if BTC didn’t run off the SEC’s approval of an ETF, investors’ psyche would likely be damaged en-masse, potentially hurting this industry’s long-term potential.
Anyhow, the overwhelming majority have stuck with the idea that when a Bitcoin ETF finally comes to market, this industry will see interest from millions of consumers once again, as barriers to entry get wiped away once the SEC gives a green light.
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Wall Street Crypto Advocate Says Bitcoin ETF Is A Matter Of When: What’s Behind the Confidence?

All eyes may be on the QuadrigaCX imbroglio, but talk regarding the implications that a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) could propose have continued. This isn’t without reason. Since the Winklevoss Twins effectively started the race for a publicly-traded crypto fund, deemed a “paradigm-shifting” product by post, the subject matter has plagued the front pages of crypto’s media outlets.
Anecdotally, it has been said that the launch of such an investment opportunity could be the rocket booster that could take this industry to the proverbial ‘moon’. While discussions about crypto-backed ETF are often imbued with an overarching sense of uncertainty and disbelief, a leading pro-crypto Wall Street investor claims that such a vehicle is “virtually certain” to eventually come into existence.
Related Reading: No One Needs A Bitcoin ETF & Bakkt, BTC Already Is Money: Crypto Investor
Launch Of A Bitcoin ETF Is “Virtually Certain”
This optimistic comment came by the way of Ric Edelman’s appearance on CNBC’s “ETF Edge” segment. Edelman, who runs a preeminent financial services company that shares his surname, told the financial outlet that there an inevitability to a Bitcoin ETF, in spite of the current market concerns and conditions.
Speaking with Bob Pisani, the Philadelphia native explained that a Bitcoin-backed product making it through the hoops the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) throws at it is a question of “when,” rather than “if.” Edelman did laud the SEC’s efforts to keep this nascent sector clean though, likely referencing the fears of manipulation, a lack of liquidity, insufficient custodial offerings, and minimal market surveillance mediums.

Waiting on a #bitcoin ETF? @ricedelman says it's an inevitability. https://t.co/WGxnMOvoEy
— CNBC's ETF Edge (@ETFEdgeCNBC) February 11, 2019

Yet, the Edelman Financial Services chairman commented that he’s confident that eventually, innovators in this space will push proper solutions to combat the SEC’s harrowing concerns. He even noted that moves to leave the financial regulator’s worries in the dust have already begun to come to fruition.
In response to a question regarding custody, Edelman name-dropped Fidelity, explaining that the Wall Street powerhouse is nearing the launch of its digital asset-centric platform. Case in point, just a week ago, the Boston-based institution revealed that it will launch its crypto custody product in a few months, potentially by some time in March. The American investor also lauded Kingdom Trust, along with a “number of other very serious players” in the custody field. He even noted that in “very short order,” VanEck and its partners should be able to satisfy the SEC’s qualms, effectively explaining that the SEC’s custody box has been ticked.
He added that from a fundamental point of view, institutional demand for solving crypto’s issue only accentuates that there is capital, human resources, and energy backing a Bitcoin ETF. Thus, the investor concluded that:
“Eventually we will see a bitcoin ETF and it’s at that stage that I will be much more comfortable recommending that ordinary investors participate.”
Edelman’s pro-crypto ETF comments come as another hopeful has joined the fray. According to a document filed to the SEC on Monday, Eric Ervin’s Reality Shares, a crypto-centric investment services provider, a semi-Bitcoin ETF is seeking to launch on NYSE Arc. 15% of the fund’s assets will be allocated towards CBOE and/or CME Bitcoin futures, while the remaining will be left for sovereign debt instruments denominated in fiat currencies like the British Pound, Japanese Yen, Swiss Francs, along with money market mutual funds.
While the product will only have a maximum 15% allocation into Bitcoin futures, some claim that this unique feature should allow the product to get a noticeable foothold in the SEC’s chambers.
Pent-Up Demand For Crypto Investment Still Present
While the incessant stream of applications may create a cause for concern that this yet-to-launch market is already oversaturated, this could be far from the case.

Per previous reports from NewsBTC, a survey conducted by Bitwise Asset Management, a San Francisco-headquartered crypto investment services provider, revealed that 35% of 150 financial advisors based in the U.S. would advise their clients to purchase cryptocurrencies if an ETF saw a launch.
Tom Lydon, the head editor at ETFTrends.com, echoed this sentiment in an interview with CNBC. Lydon noted that 74% of the advisors his outlet has interviewed have talked to their clients regarding a Bitcoin investment, yet few have gone through with a bonafide allocation. But with this launch of an ETF, an allocation would become that much easier to procure.
It is more than clear that there is demand for such a form of investment, but will the SEC bite?
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Yet Another Bitcoin ETF submitted to SEC, But Mixed With Sovereign Debt and Bitcoin Futures

Submitted to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on February 11, new bitcoin ETF by a subsidiary of Blockforce Capital is a new move. The newly filed proposal is called ‘Reality Shares Blockforce Global Currency Strategy ETF ’ which contains both – the sovereign debt instruments as well as Bitcoin futures.
ETF Beyond Bitcoin Futures
Reality Shares ETF is primarily a subsidiary of Blockforce capital, a US-based crypto firm. On Monday, the firm has filed a registration form with SEC to list its new ETF on NYSE Arca. According to the new proposal, the fund ’s portfolio involves futures traded on Cboe future exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. On top of these, it also includes sovereign debts and money market mutual funds.
The registration form reads that;
“The Fund expects to obtain exposure to Bitcoin Futures by investing up to 25% of its total assets, as measured at the end of every quarter of the Fund’s taxable year, in a wholly-owned and controlled Cayman Islands subsidiary. However, the Adviser will seek to limit the Subsidiary’s investment in Bitcoin Futures, so the Fund’s aggregate notional exposure to Bitcoin Futures is limited to 15% of the Fund’s net assets at the time of investment.”

Furthermore, the filing explains that out of 25 percent of its total assets, it would limit 15 percent of notional exposure to BTC allocation and on the other hand, 10 percent would be allocated to money market instruments.
15 [percent] of the Fund’s net assets representing notional exposure in Bitcoin Futures and (iii) 10 [percent] of the Fund’s net assets in Money Market Instruments for margin and/or cash management purposes, each as measured at the time of purchase (the ‘Target Portfolio’).”
What’s your stake on Reality Shares ETF filing with SEC? Do you think the proposal gets a green signal from regulators? Share your opinion with us. 
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Source: CoinGape

XRP Will Soon Hit on Abra Platform to Buy Stocks & ETFs – CEO Confirms

In the chaos of purchasing stocks and ETFs using Bitcoins on Abra Global platform, crypto enthusiasts seek company’s plan on XRP as native currency. Responding to one such question, Abra CEO hints ‘Yes’ but didn’t confirm the date.
Yes for XRP on Abra
Reported by Coingape, Abra crypto platform will soon offer users an ability to purchase stocks of largest companies including shares of Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix using Bitcoin. Alongside the stocks, they can also place the order for Exchange traded funds (ETFs) via Bitcoin. As soon as the announcement rolled, it crazes million crypto users globally – and as such, those who love XRP couldn’t spend a second to approach the company’s CEO for native XRP option on Abra.
Bill Barhydt, CEO of Abra Crypto platform hints;

Yes for xrp noexact date
— Bill Barhydt (@billbarhydt) February 6, 2019

While Abra plans to add XRP, it is quite interesting to wait until the official date of native XRP adoption revealed. To note, the price of XRP is quite relaxing at press time. As per the data from coinmarketap, the second largest, cryptocurrency XRP gains 0.21 percent over the past 24hrs. Specifically, the average market cap of XRP counts $12,033,151,526, trading with the value $0.29 at the time of writing.

Do you think the native XRP on Abra will encourage the price movement of XRP cryptocurrency? Share your opinion with us.
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Source: CoinGape

Abra’s Trading App Lets You Buy Apple & Facebook’s Stock Using Bitcoin 

Well, a quite interesting aspect around cryptocurrency is here. Abra, one of the bitcoin exchange and wallet service provider is enabling its global investors to purchase shares and ETF (Electronic Traded Funds) with Bitcoin.
Traditional Stocks with Cryptocurrency
Launched in the year 2015, Abra is likely a ‘game changer’ in present crypto market. As per the press release published on Feb 06, 2019, the platform calls out the early registration for worldwide investors across 155 countries. Accordingly, 50 new traditional investment assets are set to open for early investors with zero fees.

Big News: #Stock and #ETF #investing coming to Abra 🚀 Sign up now for early access to secure $0 fees for 2019.
Available in 155 countriesFractional investing w/$5 minimumsPrivate and secure
Welcome to the #futureofinvesting, built on #Bitcoin! https://t.co/rvixGS74el
— Abra (@AbraGlobal) February 6, 2019

Abra is the first of its kind in the world to offer such service, enabling more cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies. Bill Barhydt, the CEO of Abra notes that;
We’re going to start with popular US stocks and ETFs and add more global assets in the coming months. Of course, all of the great features for investing in cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies remain fully integrated as well
Abra’s all in one platform to access stocks, fiat, crypto, and ETF contain the stock from major companies including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Google. On top of all commodities like SPDR Gold Trust, shares of ETFs like Vanguard Growth and the S&P 500. Besides this, Indexes like the Russell 2000 by keeping Bitcoin at the core.
The Abra platform is a lot more exciting for investors related to the large unbanked populations wherein it’s quite difficult to access the US stock market. Similarly, Caitlin Long, a Wall Street veteran says;

This is HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All #bitcoin-based!!!!!! Kudos to @billbarhydt & team for lassoing traditional financial assets into Bitcoin, instead of trying to pigeonhole Bitcoin into the status quo—as so many other #crypto companies are doing. Best wishes for tremendous success! https://t.co/ZXs0lhqs8Z
— Caitlin Long 🔑 (@CaitlinLong_) February 6, 2019

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Source: CoinGape

Why VanEck’s Bitcoin ETF Withdrawal Was Actually Good for Crypto Industry

Bitcoin fell by more than 80% in the past twelve months. The overly impressive bull run of 2017, which led the digital currency value to the peak of $20,000, followed a whole bearish year whereby the price crashed to lows near $3,000. Lack of institutional investors and strict regulations, analysts believed, was one of the primary reasons behind the bitcoin crash.
No ETF in Q1 2019
Bulls hoped 2019 to be a year of bitcoin correction when some of the biggest financial companies announced products for its market. Fidelity, a $2.5 trillion worth asset management firm, for instance, launched bitcoin custodian and trading services. Goldman Sachs, a banking giant, also confirmed that it would begin bitcoin futures trading.
But exchange-traded funds remained to be the most exciting bitcoin product for bulls. Analysts believed that the launch of a regulated Bitcoin ETF would attract billions of dollars in investments. Traders expected that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US securities regulator, would approve the world’s first Bitcoin ETF by February 28. The sentiment allowed Bitcoin price to float above its newfound bottom above $3,000.
But, in a surprising turn of events, VanEck, the firm that had sought SEC’s approval to trade Bitcoin ETF on the CBOE exchange, withdrew its application on Wednesday.
US Govt Shutdown Or?
According to VanEck, it is the ongoing partial government shutdown in the US that led them to withdraw their Bitcoin ETF filing. SEC had already delayed its decision on the VanEck’s filing twice in 2018. Before that, the commission had rejected nine ETF applications citing concerns related to Bitcoin market manipulation. But now, with 90% of its staff furloughed, the commission had more reasons to either delay or reject the VanEck’s ETF filing.
“The SEC is affected by the shutdown… we were engaged in discussions with the SEC about the bitcoin-related issues, custody, market manipulation, prices, and that had to stop. And so, instead of trying to slip through or something, we just had the application pulled and we will re-file and re-engage in the discussions when the SEC gets going again,” Jan van Eck, the chief executive of VanEck, told CNBC.
Jake Chervinsky, a crypto believer and a securities laws expert in the US government, believed that VanEck had more reasons to withdraw their Bitcoin ETF application. He said that the US firm expected that SEC would reject their filing. And, it didn’t want any more bad publicity regarding their crypto product.

CBOE has withdrawn the VanEck/SolidX bitcoin ETF proposal (https://t.co/812Ym7U7Hh).
They haven't given a reason yet, but withdrawal implies that they expected denial & didn't want another SEC order setting bad precedent for the future.
There will be no bitcoin ETF in Q1 2019.
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) January 23, 2019

Delay is Better than Rejection
Chervinsky’s statements draw inspirations from the SEC’s earlier concerns about the bitcoin spot market. The regulator had clarified that it would not approve a Bitcoin ETF unless the applicant ensures zero price manipulation in bitcoin’s underlying retail markets.
“This proposal had a very slim chance of success,” said Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at eToro. “SEC Chairman Jay Clayton has been stressing that the bitcoin market is not yet mature enough for an ETF.”
While the government shutdown put more pressure on the Bitcoin ETF process, VanEck took the correct decision by deciding to refile its application in the future. The firm must have realized how it couldn’t convince the regulator before the deadline. The shutdown, as it seems, gave VanEck a perfect excuse to voluntarily delay its ETF launch.
Source: CMC
At least it convinced retail traders, which didn’t react to the ETF withdrawal news, despite its vital significance to the Bitcoin trade market. The BTC/USD price action, after the time of the announcement, continued to trend between $3,500 near $3,600.
It proved that the investors remained hopeful for a Bitcoin ETF product this year, if not in Q1 2019. Had it been an outright rejection, the market could have suffered.
Now, VanEck expects to come back with a more prepared application. While the firm takes its time, Bitcoin market has proven that it is not dependent on centralized authorities to pursue its trends.
“The market’s lackadaisical response to this news is a clear sign that investors are starting to understand: the crypto market is not dependent on any government or financial institution and no single product or service has the power to make or break bitcoin,” Greenspan said in an email.
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CBOE May Have Withdrawn Bitcoin ETF Filing to Avoid Automatic Rejection

The advent of a U.S.-based, fully-regulated Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) has long been a hope for crypto’s most fervent dreamers. Yet, these dreams, deemed quixotic by most, was quashed on Wednesday, as reports arose that the foremost cryptocurrency ETF application was withdrawn from the care of the (partially-defunct) U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Related Reading: 58% of US Investors Would Invest in Bitcoin via ETF: Major Hedge Fund
CBOE Pulls Out Of VanEck Bitcoin ETF Deal
On Wednesday afternoon, the SEC released one of the most important crypto-related documents to-date. The two-page document, authored by SEC deputy secretary Eduardo A. Aleman, revealed that the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) had withdrawn its proposed rule change that would have facilitated the listing of VanEck and SolidX’s collaborative Bitcoin ETF.
Therefore, the exchange, U.S.’ largest options market, effectively killed the proposal, which garnered mounds of support heading into 2018’s year-end. This document was filed on January 22nd, just earlier today.
Crypto’s analysts, industry commentators, and researchers quickly took to Twitter to touch on this unfortunate occurrence. Jake Chervinsky, a crypto-friendly attorney based in Washington, D.C., explained that the withdrawal “implies” that CBOE and its partners were already expecting an eventual denial.

CBOE has withdrawn the VanEck/SolidX bitcoin ETF proposal (https://t.co/812Ym7U7Hh).
They haven't given a reason yet, but withdrawal implies that they expected denial & didn't want another SEC order setting bad precedent for the future.
There will be no bitcoin ETF in Q1 2019.
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) January 23, 2019

Chervinsky, who has quickly become a leading Bitcoin ETF commentator, added that the CBOE was likely acting in crypto’s favor, as it “didn’t want another SEC order setting a bad precedent for the future.”
Long story short, the Kobre & Kim lawyer made it clear that there will be no formal approval of a Bitcoin ETF in Q1 of 2019.
U.S. Government Shutdown?
While Chervinsky’s logic is sound, more speculation has raged regarding the application’s denial. More specifically, thoughts surrounding the ongoing U.S. shutdown, which has entered its second month, were rife.
Some claimed that if the ETF was approved by default, due to the SEC’s potential inability to issue a proper denial, the government entity would take swift action to take down the VanEck initiative. On the other hand, the SEC might have had to issue an automatic denial. Both of these scenarios would have likely dealt a larger blow than CBOE’s Wednesday withdrawal.
According to a Twitter user, who cited a purported Wednesday CNBC interview with VanEck chief Jan, the company claimed that the withdrawal of the proposed rule change was related to fears that the application wouldn’t get a green light. The Twitter user added that VanEck claimed that it needs more time to convince the SEC and other regulatory incumbents that Bitcoin’s market conditions can adequately support an ETF vehicle.

Jan Van Eck stated on air on CNBC ETF that it was because it wasnt getting passed and they needed more time to convince SEC about overseas bitcoin trading issues.
— JV (@JVWVU1) January 23, 2019

A tweet from Gabor Gurbacs, the head of VanEck’s crypto division, recently corroborated this. Gurbacs claimed that his firm still has ambitions to work with stakeholders and market makers to create a healthy ecosystem for such an investment instrument.
Interestingly, the crypto market has barely reacted to this news. At the time of writing, BTC has held above $3,550, while altcoins have also stood the ground. Yet, considering former crypto ETF developments, a move lower could hit the broader industry in the near future.
This news comes just days after Bitwise Asset Management and Wilshire Phoenix filed Bitcoin-related ETF proposals to the American financial regulator. Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has also made comments on crypto exchange-traded vehicles, claiming that it currently isn’t looking into approving such an offering, contrary to other reports.
This is breaking news, but NewsBTC will be sure to keep you in the loop in the hours and days to keep. Keep on checking in. 
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58% of US Investors Would Invest in Bitcoin via ETF: Major Hedge Fund

58% of American investors would prefer to invest in Bitcoin via an exchange-traded fund (ETF), a formal survey found.
Conducted by Bitwise Asset Management, a San Francisco-based crypto hedge fund, the survey saw participation from 150 financial advisors in the US market. When asked what would make them allocate Bitcoin in their client portfolios, 54% of them said “better regulations” and 35% said “the launch of an ETF.”
Investors Looking for Easy Access to Bitcoin
Bitcoin’s value dropped by three-quarters in 2018. The retail investors that fueled the rally of the digital currency fled during the crash, leaving behind early-adopters and traditional firms to protect its remaining value. Now, there is an adequate supply of discounted Bitcoins available in the market, but with inadequate takers.
Meanwhile, in the same bearish year in 2018, more high profile investors started bridging the gap between crypto and traditional finance. The relationship between the two distinctive industries improved when:

CBOE and CME launched and settled the world’s first bitcoin futures;
Fidelity became the first Wall Street firm to offer cryptocurrency custody and trading services;
The endowment of prestigious US universities, including Harvard and Yale, included cryptocurrencies in their funds;
ICE-backed Bakkt announced the launch of the first regulated physical bitcoin futures;
Nasdaq announced that it would launch Bitcoin futures 2.0 in early 2019.

Such an institutional breakthrough could change the future course of Bitcoin, predicted financial experts from both mainstream and crypto space. A Bitcoin ETF, according to them, could serve as the stepping stone for a tropospheric crypto adoption among the mainstream investors.
“The answer is that ETFs are a well-understood construct that is plug-and-play with the existing software platforms, paperwork, processes, and workflows that professional investors and firms use,” wrote Bitwise in Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano’s Off the Chain newsletter. “At a 0.25%-10% allocation, crypto isn’t a deep focus of most investors, and most aren’t going to reinvent the wheel [just] to access it. They need it to be easy.”

The team at @BitwiseInvest dropped knowledge bombs in today’s free installment of Off The Chain newsletter.
Everything you need to know about crypto ETFs. Read it and learn https://t.co/SaMCVeLGbl
— Pomp (@APompliano) January 22, 2019

US Government Shutdown
Pomp, also a founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital, also said that a true capitulation would happen when a Bitcoin ETF will get approved or when crypto regulations will become more transparent.
“I think our target from August of 2018 has been $3000, we came close once already, so we may just actually go back there or somewhere close,” he told BlockTV. “Along with that, over a long period of time, I tend to think that some of the bigger numbers that are thrown out will likely be accurate.”
Now, the ETF applications of both VanEck and Bitwise remain under review at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The US securities regulator would likely announce its decision the VanEck’s Bitcoin ETF by February 27. However, the ongoing government shutdown led by President Trump has furloughed 94% of SEC staffers. Bitwise believed that the political situation could prompt SEC to delay its decision on VanEck’s Bitcoin ETF.
“The likelihood of giving the filing a complete review is in doubt,” the company wrote. “Bitwise’s own filing is complicated by the shutdown as well.”
In the same breath, Bitwise maintained its optimism, saying that political delays would not impact the growth of the crypto ecosystem.
“Each day brings greater regulatory clarity, improving custody options, greater futures trading volume, more established exchanges and trading venues, and more widespread understanding,” it said.
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Winklevoss Twins: If Bitcoin ETF Approval Takes Six Years, So Be It

Among other things, 2018 was a tough year for Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) applications. Regulatory entities overseeing such proposals quickly quashed the crypto industry’s dreams, denying applications left and right. Yet, the showrunners behind a denied ETF proposal, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, believe they have the chops to continue pushing for a green light, in spite of a handful of shortcomings.
Related Reading: Japan Explores Bitcoin ETF but Demand for Product is Mysterious
Gemini Founders: We Need To Get The Bitcoin ETF Right
The Winklevoss Twins, the co-founders behind the fittingly named Gemini Exchange, have recently embarked on a marketing campaign — taking to the streets of New York clad in branded merchandise, putting company logos on subway cars and taxis alike, and appearing on media outlets to talk crypto.
Most recently, after a revealing Ask Me Anything on Reddit, the two Olympians, who are also Harvard graduates, the two made their way to Fortune’s “The Ledger”, the outlet’s in-house column and show centered around blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
The duo, dubbed the Winklevii (Winklevoss + Gemini), noted that although its Bitcoin ETF venture, which purportedly began six years ago, has stalled, they remain committed. Twin Cameron explained that Gemini intends to see “it through,” even if a fully-fledged regulatory go-ahead takes another six years.
Gemini’s president added that he has acknowledged the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) objections over such an investment vehicle, touching on his firm’s recent implementation of Nasdaq’s SMART technology. Cameron added that Gemini’s leading involvement in the Virtual Commodity Association, which may improve market surveillance across the board, could also help to quell the SEC’s qualms.
The Winklevoss twin added that the SEC’s hesitance to accept such a vehicle is actually welcomed, explaining that since a Bitcoin ETF will be the first of many crypto-backed products, “we need to get it right.”
Interestingly, Cameron did note that the crypto spot markets and derivatives markets still need to grow, as financial regulators are still skeptical about the lack of liquidity in this nascent sector.
Crypto Commentators Skeptical 
While the Winklevii seems to be trying their utmost to garner regulatory approval, many pundits are skeptical that a BTC-based ETF is in the cards. Speaking to Ran NeuNer, Meltem Demirors, the chief of strategy at crypto asset manager CoinShares, recently explained that the proposal from VanEck, SolidX, and CBOE will “absolutely not” get approved.
Demirors then noted that a regulatory green light is unlikely to bless any other proposals, whether it be from Gemini, Coinbase, or otherwise. She explained that as it stands, the SEC would get no political, financial, or social tailwind from approving a Bitcoin ETF. Instead, Demirors noted that there is solely downside for the financial regulator, especially considering the tumultuous political climate that Americans face today.
The CoinShares C-suite member then explained that many forget that SEC and CFTC incumbents are appointed, and are mandated to stay in line with their party’s mandate. And, with there being nuances regarding America’s stance on fintech and how the nation’s economy should progress, the advent of a properly-backed crypto ETF is that much more quixotic. This has all only been accentuated by the ongoing government shutdown, slated to enter its fourth week on Monday.
In closing, to put a cherry on the proverbial cake, Demirors explained that from a fundamental viewpoint, approval is likely far off, as there remain underlying security and liquidity concerns about the underlying crypto market.
Arjun Balaji, a contributor to The Block, was also skeptical, but in a different, more optimistic manner. He explained that he expects for the VanEck crypto team to accomplish the impossible first, rather than Gemini or any other competitors. However, Balaji did note that there’s a good chance a single-asset (presumably Bitcoin) ETF gets approved sometime over the next 12 months.
In the same “The Ledger” interview, the Winklevoss Twins doubled-down on their optimism on Bitcoin, drawing attention to the asset’s foremost value proposition. The two preeminent industry insiders explained that Bitcoin is simply a better version of gold, but the precious metal just has a 3,000-year head start. Cameron, breaking down the “Bitcoin is a digital form of gold” argument, remarked that if you boil it down, Bitcoin is better at fungibility, scarcity, portability, and divisible than gold itself.
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Japan Explores Bitcoin ETF but Demand for Product is Mysterious

Japan’s financial watchdog could embrace exchange-traded funds that track the value of Bitcoin and similar digital asset classes, Bloomberg reported.
The Financial Services Agency (FSA), according to an anonymous source, has been exploring Bitcoin ETFs on the sidelines of its disapproval of the Bitcoin futures and Ethereum derivatives. The agency has clarified that it will not make modifications to Japan’s existing securities laws to cater for crypto assets. The decision came as a blow to the Bitcoin industry, which was looking to draw significant funds from the institutional markets after undergoing a very depressive year recently.
The FSA’s stance has been handled to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. It should allow the political group to table a bill during the current Diet session. By 2020, Japan could be looking at a stricter Bitcoin law, according to which self-regulation could draw more regulatory oversights, ICO sector could come under the securities law, and crypto brokers could lose their leverages.
Bitcoin ETF a Flipside
Bitcoin ETF could be an alternative to keep the interest of potential investors alive in the crypto space. In the Western markets, the possible launch of crypto ETFs has forecasted bullish outcomes for the underlying assets. VanEck, whose Bitcoin ETF is now in the last stretch of approval from the US securities watchdog, expects a minimum of $1 billion inbound investment from retail and institutional space.
Japan, with a total of 31 ETFs available across equity and currency assets, gathers management of a $335 billion market. The country’s payment service act has ensured that bitcoin is neither currency nor equity. Instead, the FSA defines the digital currency as a “property value.” The Bloomberg report indicates that the regulator could be looking at amending the payment service act, intensifying the rumor that Japan could end up introducing Bitcoin as one of the main assets of its ETF offerings.
Japanese Retail Prefers Mutual Funds
An FSA-approved Bitcoin ETF could expose itself to the Japanese retail investment space. But whether investors would find the new asset attractive is doubtful. Like regulators, investors would prefer assets that are free from the risk of manipulation. These safeguards, unfortunately, do not exist in the Bitcoin market. It is the same reason why the Securities and Exchange Commission consecutively rejected nine Bitcoin ETF proposals because it found the underlying asset Bitcoin too volatile.
VanEck, in response, created a bitcoin price index backed by US-regulated exchanges, to meet the demand of both investors and regulators.
Japanese retail investors, meanwhile, have not publicly expressed their desires to invest in a crypto ETF. They already have alternatives in traditional markets’ stock and bond funds. But they prefer mutual funds above everything else, leaving Bitcoin with a long competitive market to win.
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Institutional Investors Still Interested? Bitwise Releases Bitcoin and Ethereum Funds

The creator of the world’s first cryptocurrency index fund has launched two liquid beta funds holding bitcoin and ether exclusively to address market demand. The Bitwise Bitcoin Fund and the Bitwise Ethereum Fund are available in two share classes, Institutional Shares and Investor Shares.
Bitwise Funds Open to Minimum Investment of $25,000 for Retail Investors and $1 Million for Institutionals
Bitwise Asset Management has broadened its fund family with the two new strategies which join the Bitwise 10 Private Index Fund. The Bitcoin and Ethereum funds are being promoted as a low cost alternative to current existing options which charge exit fees and other expenses.
Hunter Horsley, chief executive officer of Bitwise Asset Management, believes the 68 percent drawdown in bitcoin prices this year has given investors a unique opportunity to enter the market at very low prices.
“Though an ETF has not yet been approved, investors and advisors like the fund format because it’s professionally managed and simplifies access to best-in-class custody, trading, reporting, and tax preparation, and allows for the safe capture of events like hard forks and airdrops.”
The Bitcoin and Ethereum funds aim to capture the total returns available to bitcoin and ethereum investors, respectively, including hard forks and air drops. Bitwise holds the capital in cold storage with an institutional third-party custodian. The asset management firm offers an institutional offering, with an all-in expense ratio of 1.0% and a minimum investment of $1 million, and a retail offering, with an all-in expense ratio of 1.5% and a minimum investment of $25,000.
The cryptocurrency market has been down lately. Bitcoin trades below $4,000 and Ethereum lost the $100 handle. Matt Hougan, global head of research at Bitwise, says that institutional demand for bitcoin and ether funds is increasing, with some adding to their positions throughout the downturn and others using the opportunity to enter the market.
“With significant positive developments on the horizon, including the launch of the Bakkt bitcoin futures exchange from ICE, the launch of Fidelity Digital Assets, and the continued movement of institutional investors like Yale University and Stanford University into the crypto space, we have seen significant inbound demand for high-quality bitcoin and ether funds.”
The funds launched by Bitwise allow U.S.-accredited investors to come in and out of the fund weekly and charge no withdrawal or performance fees, or performance fees.
Bitwise is backed by a few leading names within the ecosystem, including Khosla Ventures,  Blockchain Capital, and Naval Ravikant. In late July 2018, chief executive Horsley told CNBC that the asset management firm was hopeful of launching its own cryptocurrency index ETF. The company filed a proposition to the SEC with that goal in mind. In that interview, Horsley added that his customers “like the index strategy” because they don’t get tied down to a single cryptocurrency.
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What Caused Bitcoin to Drop to a New Yearly Low? Factors and Trends

When optimists thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. In the past 24 hours, after ranging between $3,800 and $4,200 for a week, Bitcoin (BTC) was suddenly subject to another spell of bear market fever, as the asset fell under $3,700, $3,600, and $3,500 in quick succession. BTC even established a new year-to-date low in the recent sell-off, breaching $3,350 on Coinbase in a bearish spasm.
Upon the re-arrival of selling pressure, which sent retail investors into an unrelenting furor, a myriad of industry participants asked what mustered bears into action — the million dollar question lingering about everyone’s mind.
SEC Delays Bitcoin ETF Ruling… Yet Again
Per previous reports from NewsBTC, a number of representatives from VanEck, SolidX, and CBOE’s Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) team recently rendezvoused with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This recent event, which is the second of its kind, saw VanEck’s digital asset team, headed by Gabor Gurbacs, consult with the American entity’s Economic Risk Analysis division on the matter of a crypto-backed ETF.
Related Reading: VanEck’s Chief Strategist Eyes Multi-Billion Dollar Investment in Bitcoin ETF
The hopefuls drew attention to a 62-part slide deck, which outlined the vehicle proposed and the rationale behind its potential approval. VanEck’s representative, doing his utmost to calm the SEC’s fears of manipulation, low-liquidity, and bad actors in crypto markets, then told the financial regulator that Bitcoin isn’t only “resilient,” but operates in a “well-functioning capital market” as well.
Aiming to butter up the SEC, VanEck even lauded CBOE’s trading infrastructure, which the instrument will be coupled with, for its speed, security, and ability to stay in compliance with the local financial legislature.
Yet, even after the reportedly successful closed-door meeting, the SEC delayed its decision on the application for the umpteenth time, and in the midst of a crypto bear market no less. In an SEC-stamped document published Thursday afternoon, the governmental agency claimed that it would be exercising its right to delay a verdict on the application until February 27, 2019.
Although the release of this document didn’t directly produce any red candles, such a decision likely instilled some semblance of fear in naive investors. Speaking with Bloomberg on the impact of negative industry developments, Timothy Tam, CEO of CoinFi, stated:
“Sentiment in the [crypto] market is really bad, any negative news has an exponential effect.”
However, some have taken to Twitter to discredit the sentiment that the SEC’s recent ruling had an effect on the market at large. On Twitter, Joseph Young, a NewsBTC editor, noted that the document was “expected” and “common sense,” adding that BTC didn’t stumble under $3,500 as a result of the 81-day delay.

VanEck Bitcoin ETF delay until February was expected and to be frank, it's common sense. Why would the SEC go out of its way to approve or reject an ETF filing prematurely?
And so no, the Bitcoin price didn't fall because of the ETF delayhttps://t.co/9t7Dp49NSQ
— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) December 7, 2018

Still, the multi-year Bitcoin ETF saga, which has stuck with crypto through the thick and thin, will likely remain an industry-wide flavor of the foreseeable future, so to speak.
Analysts Claim That Bottom Isn’t In
While opinions regarding the Bitcoin ETF delay and its effect on the market are a mixed bag, a number of analysts have maintained that BTC hasn’t established its long-term bottom, even after an 83% decline from its all-time high.
Michael Bucella, a partner at industry juggernaut BlockTower Capital, claimed crypto’s near-year-long “distress cycle” is nearing its climax. The former Goldman Sachs executive, referencing BTC’s historical price fluctuations, subsequently pointed out that the last leg of crypto downturns are normally the most volatile, yet short-lived. And while he was reluctant to forecast a bottom, Bucella clearly accentuated his thought process that bears aren’t done with BTC yet.
Vinny Lingham, CEO of Civic, recently issued a similar comment, claiming that he expects for BTC to range between $3,000 and $5,000 for months, before adding that a foray below the former price level isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Lingham, known for incessantly calling for a “Crypto Winter,” claimed that Bitcoin’s underlying narrative has been misconstrued over time, which has allowed up-and-coming blockchains to gain on the crypto industry’s first.
Although commentators haven’t come to a consensus on the point at which BTC will bottom, it is evident that the cries for “lower lows” are still commonplace.
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Dogecoin Creator: Bakkt, Fidelity, and Bitcoin ETF Are Bad for Cryptocurrency

Jackson Palmer, the founder of the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, has discussed what he calls the “re-centralization” of the cryptocurrency markets, and notably criticized the direction the industry is heading.
Growing Shift Away from Decentralization in Cryptocurrency Industry
In a recent opinion piece published in Diar, Palmer begins his Op-Ed, titled “The Institutionalization of Cryptocurrency is a Paradox,” with a detailed description of the current events that are considered valuable by the cryptocurrency community. This includes the release of the Bakkt custodial trading infrastructure and the approval of Bitcoin ETFs.
He explains that these events, which are commonly seen as being future impetuses for market growth, are specifically reliant on government and institutional approval of the crypto industry.
Palmer then urges that industry advocates take a step back and realize that reliance on external approval from these types of groups is counter to what cryptocurrency stands for, stating that:
“While many cryptocurrency enthusiasts express blind enthusiasm at the notion of positive price impact associated with this money flowing in, it’s important to take a step back and analyze what this phase of the cryptocurrency lifecycle actually represents, and how far it lands the movement from its original goals.”
In Palmer’s view, there were originally three pillars that defined cryptocurrencies, including being censorship resistant, conducting trustless transactions, and providing users with a verifiable history.
He believes that these cruxes of the technology, which all serve under the overarching principle of decentralization, are counter to an over-reliance on government and institutional approval.
This leads to his critique on the market’s reliance on bank-like exchanges that are the epitome of a centralized institution, which detract from the decentralization of Bitcoin’s network.
“The shift back to reliance on a single corporation (essentially a bank) as your window to a cryptocurrency network introduces a clear single point of failure. If Coinbase.com is hijacked or taken offline, a user relying on that provider essentially loses their access to the decentralized Bitcoin network.”
On this point, he also importantly notes that a centralized entity can control the public’s access to cryptocurrencies, as they can ban or block users however they so desire.
Related Reading: Research: ETFs Could Lead Bitcoin Price to $35,000 and It Isn’t Far Away
Custodial Services Detract from Trustless Transactions 
Palmer also explains that the increase in institutional custody services, like the ones being offered by Bakkt, Fidelity, and Coinbase, detract from the trustless nature of cryptocurrency transactions, as they centrally control and manage the investments, and obstruct investor’s access to their private keys.
“When users are transacting with the Bitcoin network via an ETF or Fidelity 401k plan backed in cryptocurrency, they own the cryptocurrency purely on paper and not in reality as the provider is simply moving balances around in a centralized database. Broadly speaking, if you aren’t holding your private keys, you aren’t holding cryptocurrency.”
This leads to the next industry issue, as Palmer sees it, which is a shift towards non-verifiable transaction histories that result in allowing middle-men, like banks, institutions, and some exchanges, to conduct transactions on users’ behalf, obscuring them from the data regarding the supply and flow of the cryptocurrency supply.
Will Investors Sacrifice Decentralization for Profits?
Palmer concludes his Op-Ed by explaining that initiatives that reduce the impact of institutional involvement in cryptocurrencies, like the Lightning Network or the Plasma framework, are critical for keeping cryptocurrencies connected to their original principles.
Palmer boils the future of the industry down to one persisting dilemma: will investors sacrifice the revolutionary benefits that cryptocurrencies offer for profits?
“The real question becomes whether the industry en masse will prioritize this resistance over the allure of market expansion and wealth that institutional re-centralization may offer,” he says.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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What Could Trigger The Next Bitcoin Boom?

In recent weeks, the crypto markets have been tame, to say the least. Aside from XRP experiencing a 17% increase over the past few days, the total market cap has been stable and has moved within the $200 to $220 billion regions since the end of September this year.
Not everyone is happy with this though. Those who invested in cryptocurrencies before the crash back in January are going to be praying on their knees for the highly anticipated rally as it is the only way they are going to be able to recoup their investments and maybe even make a profit out of their digital holdings. At this point in time, the market needs something to push it in the right direction to get the ball rolling and that thing could be the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Will the SEC approve the BTC ETF?
Crypto experts have been predicting that a crypto market rally is inevitable and just is going to happen at some point. More than likely at the turn of the year but who knows. However, saying that, the rally might not happen so soon and might happen in a few years time. So those who lost out after investing in December might be waiting a while until they see some sort of profit.
One blockchain investor, Oliver Isaacs has said that the rally could happen sooner as long as the US Securities and Exchange Commission approved a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund.
The blockchain investor believes that the approval of Bitcoin’s ETF could be the thing that pushes the market in the right direction:
“The approval of a Bitcoin ETF will open the floodgates for new investors to pour billions of dollars into cryptocurrencies with the same ease in which they invest in stocks and all other mainstream asset classes.”
As said by blokt, if the SEC allows the Bitcoin ETF to go through then it could launch the biggest cryptocurrency by market cap to new heights. Isaacs said that the situation is now similar to what happened to the price of gold back in 2003.
Isaacs said:
“The precious metal increased more than 300% in its price in the aftermath of the first ETF approval back in March 2003.”
The SEC’s approval of a Bitcoin ETF could have a similar effect on the market. The blockchain investor predicts that if it happens, the leading digital currency could end up climbing to heights of over $22,000.
What are your thoughts? Let us know down below!

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Analyst Believes Bakkt Could Lead to Early 2019 Bull Run

As the cryptocurrency markets continue to range sideways and as market sentiment dwindles, investors should remember the events on the horizon that could lead to an imminent bull run. One analyst laid out how he sees the markets unfolding over the next couple of years.
In recent months, investors have witnessed an unprecedented period of sideways trading for Bitcoin and the general cryptocurrency markets, with Bitcoin caught in a trading range between $6,200 and $6,800. This range, however, has not broken for better or worse thus far, and investors are struggling to predict what will happen next for the markets.
Bakkt and Bitcoin ETF Could Fuel Early 2019 Bull Run
This past week, one popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, Alex Krüger, explained how he sees the markets unfolding over the next couple of years. He predicts that the release of Bakkt and the SEC’s decision on the pending Bitcoin ETF will play a significant role in the future price cycles.
Krüger begins his explanation starting with an early 2019 BTC bull run that will be fueled by Bakkt and renewed anticipation for the approval of the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF.
“#1 Bull run on BAAKT & renewed ETF approval narrative early 2019,” he explained.
The ICE-backed exchange will enable trading of its new Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract on December 12th, 2018, so the timing of this launch fits Krüger’s narrative quite well.
It is highly speculative that this new futures product will immediately impact trading for the better, but it could lead to some renewed market sentiment and it could increase the potential of institutional and corporate investments that may bolster the cryptocurrency markets.
In addition to the release of Bakkt’s futures products, he also notes that increased anticipation for the approval of a Bitcoin ETF could impact the markets. Currently, the SEC is still reviewing the much anticipated VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF application, and it is unclear what their decision will be.
In a recent interview with Fox Business, VanEck’s director of digital asset strategies, Gabor Gurbacs, spoke about his confidence in the SEC approving the application, saying:
“We are the closest that we can be. It is very clear to me that America wants a Bitcoin ETF and we are here to build it.”
As the second influencing factor in early 2019, Krüger cites the denial of this application as the impetus for a crash into the $4,000 region.
“#2 ETF denied Feb/27, massive crash, goodbye 6k, hello 4k, cleanse all weak hands,” he explains.
This is purely speculation, although it is important for investors to expect the worst when it comes to decisions from regulatory authorities like the SEC.
As a final point, Krüger explains that a “halvening” narrative, which is the term that describes the 50% drop in Bitcoin’s block rewards that is estimated to occur on May 27th, 2020, will lead to increased speculative investing that will prop up BTC’s price and lead to a bull run towards the end of 2019 and into 2020.
“#3 Halvening 2020 narrative and re-adjustments lead to sustained bull run for the rest of 2019 & 2020.”
Although Krüger’s narrative is speculative, it is based on real and imminent events that are sure to impact the entire cryptocurrency markets. Also, it is presumable that much of his narrative will depend on how the markets are performing at the time these events come to fruition.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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