For those looking to start their crypto investment journey and wondering where to buy Bitcoin, there’s a new investment option shaping on the horizon that you might want to know about. A spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) could soon receive the seal of approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and that could translate into major opportunities for stakeholders.
If you’re only now tapping into the fascinating and highly complex crypto landscape or if you’ve taken a break from following industry developments, the news of Bitcoin’s recent rally might have escaped your attention. The price of the flagship crypto has increased considerably over the past few weeks, with a gain of 28%, and much of the appreciation was fueled by the growing excitement and anticipation surrounding spot Bitcoin ETFs.
Let’s put you up to speed with how things unfolded: in June, BlackRock (BLK), the world’s largest asset manager, filed an application for a spot Bitcoin ETF with the SEC. As one of the most prominent players in the financial space, BlackRock has a positive track record of obtaining approval for its ETF applications.
As a result, their move prompted other reputable asset management firms like Grayscale, 21Shares & Ark, BlackRock, Bitwise, VanEck, Wisdomtree, Fidelity and Valkyrie, to follow in their footsteps and file their own applications. So now, the SEC has 12 spot Bitcoin applications waiting to be reviewed and hopefully get the green light, and crypto supporters are obviously thrilled about the prospect.
Since the SEC hasn’t approved any spot Bitcoin ETF so far, the question on everyone’s minds right now is what will happen when they do? Although there is no guarantee that the SEC is going to rule in favor of spot Bitcoin ETFs, it’s worth exploring this possibility and its implications.
What’s with all the commotion around spot Bitcoin ETFs?
If you’re new to the crypto sphere and aren’t really familiar with spot Bitcoin ETFs, you’re probably wondering what the fuss is about. So, to help you make sense of all the buzz around Bitcoin ETFs and understand their relevancy and the power they hold, we should start with a quick foray into this widely discussed investment vehicle and its characteristics.
At the moment, one of the ways for investors to tap into the crypto market and diversify their portfolios is to invest in Bitcoin ETFs. However, the Bitcoin ETFs that are currently available are all tied to Bitcoin future contracts. These funds don’t hold actual Bitcoin but use futures contracts instead. This means that investors can only speculate on the future price movements of the crypto, and it’s a well-known fact that prices fluctuate wildly in the cryptocurrency market.
By contrast, a spot Bitcoin ETF would give investors the opportunity to invest directly in the asset so they would be able to gain exposure to the actual price of Bitcoin, without having to manage a crypto wallet or deal with safety features like private keys. Spot Bitcoin ETFs function differently than futures Bitcoin ETFs in the sense that they store Bitcoin physically in a digital vault managed by custodians and the units they hold reflect the live market price of Bitcoin. Investors can then buy shares of these units that the spot Bitcoin ETF owns and trade them on crypto exchanges at the current market price.
What would a spot Bitcoin ETF mean for investors?
It’s obvious from the description that spot Bitcoin ETFs are quite different from the existing Bitcoin ETFs, but what does that mean for investors?
For starters, spot Bitcoin ETFs offer greater convenience, making it easier for people to gain access to Bitcoin and lowering barriers to entry in the crypto market. These funds streamline the entire investment process by giving investors the possibility to circumvent technical steps like setting up an account on a crypto exchange or managing crypto wallets, which can be rather daunting for many users, especially those who are not tech-savvy. It’s certainly easier to have someone else take care of all these technicalities for you.
Spot Bitcoin ETFs would also ensure a seamless transition to crypto investment for those who are used to traditional investment methods, as they’ll be able to access the funds through their normal brokerage accounts.
Moreover, investors would also benefit from enhanced security since spot Bitcoin ETFs would be required to comply with certain regulations that ensure higher levels of transparency and security. This would provide them with greater peace of mind than trading Bitcoin on a crypto exchange since many exchange platforms have had security issues in the past or even collapsed.
Impact on Bitcoin and the crypto industry
It seems that investors have plenty of reasons to keep their fingers crossed for the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs. But what about the impact on the Bitcoin price and the market as a whole? Although the general consensus is that a spot Bitcoin ETF couldn’t influence the BTC price directly, it can have indirect implications in this respect.
The approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF is likely to lead to increased Bitcoin adoption as more investors will have the opportunity to gain exposure to the asset. With the demand for Bitcoin rising, the asset’s price is expected to surge.
The inclusion of spot Bitcoin ETFs in the services of major asset management firms like BlackRock could also improve Bitcoin’s legitimacy and attract greater institutional implication, pushing crypto further on the path to mainstream acceptance.
On the other hand, spot Bitcoin ETFs could charge higher fees and many worry that investors might get discouraged by the expenses associated with these funds and pull away, causing the Bitcoin price to drop.
The benefits that spot Bitcoin ETFs could provide sound great in theory but no one knows how things will translate into practice. So, it’s difficult to anticipate the level of interest that these investment vehicles would enjoy if they were approved. The only thing we know for sure is that the arrival of spot Bitcoin ETFs would represent a major milestone in crypto’s evolution and cause seismic shifts in the market.