Many analysts thought that with so much competition stemming from regions like Canada, the United States would give in sometime this year and submit to a bitcoin-based exchange-traded fund (ETF), but now it looks like that will not be the case.
A Bitcoin ETF May Not Arrive This Year After All
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has always been relatively stubborn when it comes to permitting bitcoin-based products and services, and despite many new ideas and developments, it looks like that stubbornness is continuing. The government agency has issued a statement on bitcoin, claiming that there is too much risk involved in the asset class and that traders need to remain extremely cautious when entering its doors.
While the statement does not necessarily say that the SEC has no intention of ever approving a bitcoin ETF, it does show an attitude of continued nervousness and fear surrounding crypto, and thus traders may be wrong to think 2021 will be the year where such an ETF is formally introduced.
The statement reads as follows:
The [SEC] staff strongly encourages any investor interested in investing in a mutual fund with exposure to the bitcoin futures market, as discussed below, to carefully consider the risk disclosure of the fund, the investor’s own risk tolerance, and the possibility, as with all investing, of investor loss. Among other things, investors should understand that bitcoin, including gaining exposure through the bitcoin futures market, is a highly speculative investment. As such, investors should consider the volatility of bitcoin and the bitcoin futures market, as well as the lack of regulation and potential for fraud or manipulation in the underlying bitcoin market.
The battle to get a bitcoin ETF approved with the SEC has been a long and arduous one. While many firms – including Bitwise and Van Eck – have tried with all their might to earn the needed “yes” votes, they have all come up shorthanded.
According to many analysts, the U.S. was likely to become more open minded when it came to a crypto-based ETF this year given that Canada, the country’s neighbor to the north, has already given the greenlight to several ETFs that are both bitcoin and Ethereum-based. The SEC’s own Hester Pierce has even commented that the agency’s refusal to allow such a product up to this point has been a mistake.
Sadly, it does not look like the SEC is taking any new information from these facts. The organization is still warning of the alleged illicit behavior that exists with many forms of crypto, and thus are telling investors to really think twice before getting involved.
Still Too Much Fear
The statement goes on to say:
The areas identified relate to substantive requirements regarding valuation, liquidity, custody, arbitrage mechanisms for exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as well as potential manipulation and other risks associated with cryptocurrency-related markets.