Category Archives: Bitcoin ETFs

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Australian Accounting Firm Pushes Proposal for World’s First Bitcoin ETF

Australian Accounting Firm Pushes Proposal For World’s First Bitcoin ETF

Although many companies trying to launch Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been turned down thanks to the regulatory issues, an Australian accounting firm, BDO, has announced the proposal for what it calls the world’s first Bitcoin ETF listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), as reported by micky.com.

BDO has been providing services to a notable number of ASX-backed companies and will now extend auditing and assurance services to local digital assets, ICOs, security tokens, and exchanges.

BDO Leader for Financial services, Tim Aman, said:

“One of the biggest barriers holding institutional investors back is the lack of transparency about the quality of digital assets. By providing comprehensive audit and assurance services, our entry into this growing sector will be a game changer for new investment into this asset class.”

Formerly, BDO collaborated with Decentralised Capital to provide a clear-cut knowledge on the functioning of the Blockchain technology for auditing. Stephen Moss, founder of Decentralised Capital, emphasized on the importance of independent auditing as a pre-requisite for attaining approval on the proposed Bitcoin ETF.

He said:

“Provided you can work with regulators and the ASX to offer investors security I think Australia is possibly an ideal place to list a Bitcoin ETF.”

The journey of Bitcoin ETF approval

ETFs provide investment expansion opportunities to the investors by tracking the assets allowing simpler alternatives to buying and selling individual assets. With the help of Bitcoin ETFs, investors do not have to be concerned about the security procedures associated with holding the cryptocurrency. Besides, investors can just buy and sell the ETF through traditional exchanges.

It is not a secret that time and again, the applications for Bitcoin-based ETFs have been rejected by the SEC on the basis of the risks of “fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices”.

In a series of rejections, the SEC turned down the petition to launch the Bitcoin ETF called Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust in 2017. A second attempt to the launch was rejected by the US financial watchdog in 2018. The joint proposal filed by VanEck and SolidX for the approval of Bitcoin ETF was stalled by the SEC yet again.

 

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Bitcoin Retreats From $8,000 as Bulls Pause for Breath

Bitcoin Retreats From ,000 as Bulls Pause for Breath

After days of incredible resilience to recover from pullbacks and make renewed attempts to overcome a major resistance point at USD 8,000, Bitcoin bulls finally relented in trading today, with the Asian market unable to overcome selling pressure from the rest of the world.

Only one major push happened throughout yesterday, when Bitcoin price was just shy of the marker at USD 7,993 (CoinDesk), but by the time Asian markets woke up, the slide towards its current levels at USD 7,645 (7:05am UTC) had already begun.

The positivism has not died out yet, however, as trading volumes also suggest that sellers do not have the strength to continue the trend significantly, and buying momentum could just be gearing in as short-term scalpers continue to look for fast entry points below USD 8,000. All the same, the USD 9,000 target does seem to have been postponed for the time being.

On social media, some are taking out their frustrations on the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who further delayed the decisions on Bitcoin ETFs. Most don’t take this to be legitimate, however, as that action had been fully expected as only the latest in a series of rejections and postponements on decisions by the regulatory body. Others are blaming major banks like JP Morgan for putting out “disinformation”, with the intent to push prices down to present new buying opportunities.

The banks will put out disinformation, with the aim of lowering the price of Bitcoin. The intention will then be for Banks to purchase very large quantities of Bitcoin at discounted rates. https://t.co/1wMzOxl5MJ

— Bitcoin, Blockchain, Crypto & Digital Assets (@BbcDlearning) May 20, 2019

 

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Bitcoin ETF Approval Would Give EU Legislators More Confidence Over Crypto

In a change of stance on cryptocurrency adoption by EU legislators, who until now have been mainly fence-sitting on the subject, are indicating that ETF acceptances may create more positive interest towards easing regulation.

European legislators have recently stated that a Bitcoin ETF green light by the SEC could ease the current pressure felt by cryptocurrencies across Europe.

A recent report by the EU’s financial advisory group suggested that there was a continued threat to investors trading in cryptocurrencies arguing that, “These issues are not unique to crypto assets trading platforms; they may be exacerbated in the case of crypto-assets because of their high price volatility and often low liquidity.”

In an attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies and provide more safeguards, EU legislators are increasingly looking to organizations such as Gemini who have taken to ETF, despite their own problems in getting them recognized by the SEC, due to the body’s continual reluctance to endorse cryptocurrencies. Gemini’s joint CEO Cameron Winklevoss commented about their own problems with regulation:

“We understand the commission’s concerns. We’ve heard them loud and clear and they are basically calling for more market surveillance and protections in the marketplace to avoid, prevent against manipulative behaviour and stuff like that. So, Gemini has built a market surveillance team.”

CSO of CoinShares, Meltem Demirors, has a more negative approach to the prospect of Bitcoin ETFs being accepted by the SEC due to the current political stalemate in Washington, arguing:

“….in this current sort of stalemate where you have the Democratic House, and the Republican Senate, you see some clashing, there are very different views on financial innovation and what should happen, but I think right now there is no upside to approving an ETF.”

The Winklevoss Brothers have called for the introduction of a Virtual Commodity Association, a self-regulatory organization for the cryptocurrency industry in the United States, similar to the Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA).

The JVCEA was founded on April 2018 when 16 crypto exchanges joined hands with the ultimate aim of providing self-regulatory standards for the industry-wide investors. Later in October, it was officially given self-regulatory status by Japan’s financial regulator to supervise the crypto sector.

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SEC Commissioner Peirce: ETF “Definitely Possible”

In a podcast aired on 24 November, SEC commissioner Hester Peirce has commented that the launch of a future cryptocurrency ETF is “definitely possible”.

Her comments could signal a change in the SEC’s stance on ETFs which until now have failed to get through the regulator’s screening process.

However, the comments by Peirce are her own, as she makes clear in the podcast, and not necessarily those of the SEC as a whole. Nonetheless, the commissioner has pointed out that she sees “significant intellectual capital” being invested by both institutional investors and exchanges towards the development of a Bitcoin ETF.

It is worth noting that Peirce represents one-fifth of the SEC’s regulatory body in terms of managing the entire regulatory landscape environment for security investments in the United States, so her views carry significant weight in terms of being a mouthpiece for the government body.

Peirce is perhaps better known for her criticism of how the SEC handled the Winklevoss twins’ rejected application for an ETF in July of this year. At the time, she commented:

“I think that one of the reasons is that in the past, with other applications for commodities – you might think of metals – [the SEC] also looked at the underlying markets. I would argue that this also was not the right approach at looking at those. Of course, that was well before my time here. But, in addition, I think that there is concern around new technologies, and I think some of that is reflected in the disapproval order.”

She added that she felt that the SEC in general treats innovation with caution, feeling that the body maintains it is safer to simply “put the brakes on” than to approve ETF applications. The commissioner suggests that the SEC needed to figure out a way of being less cautious and letting “innovation go forward” rather than being concerned about criticism if projects fail.

The ETF debate is a topical one at present, particularly with Bitcoin struggling to find any stability in the market, and along with the adoption of cryptocurrencies by institutional investors, the approval of ETFs is now being seen as the industry’s saving grace.

 

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