Bitcoin ETFs given green light by US regulator


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Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a landmark moment for the legitimisation of the world's largest cryptocurrency.

The SEC approved 11 Bitcoin ETF applications from major institutional investment players such as BlackRock, Fidelity, Invesco, VanEck, Ark Investments, and Grayscale, opening the door for Australian retail investors and financial advisers to access US listed bitcoin spot ETFs through local brokerages.

Betashares head of digital assets Justin Arzadon says the SEC's decision to approve spot bitcoin ETFs from a range of fund managers is a watershed day for the maturity of bitcoin.

bitcoin etfs approved by sec

"The SEC's approval of spot bitcoin ETFs should add further confidence to the digital asset ecosystem and could pave the way for Wall Street to move deeper into cryptocurrencies as an asset class," he says.

"The move to approve a spot bitcoin ETF will finally provide US-based investors with an option to invest in bitcoin via a familiar ETF structure."

Magnet Capital co-founder and director Egor Sidelska described the SEC's decision as the most "influential even in Bitcoin's history", highlighting it as the culmination of a decade-long wait for official institutional adoption.

Sidelska noted that the absence of listed products has made it challenging for wealth managers to allocate funds to crypto. However, with the SEC approval, Australians can now access a spot Bitcoin ETF legally and compliantly, rather than through futures, cash-settled products, or trading derivatives.

Global X senior product and investment strategist David Tuckwell noted that the SEC's move to list Bitcoin ETFs on regulated exchanges thus allows advisers "the kingmakers of the ETF market" to purchase them, opening up the cryptocurrency market to a key segment.

Nevertheless, SEC chair Gary Gensler emphasised that the approval of Bitcoin ETFs shouldn't be viewed as an endorsement of other crypto assets or the broader cryptocurrency market.

He clarified that this decision also doesn't reflect the SEC's stance on the legal status of other crypto assets or the existing non-compliance issues among some market participants.

Meanwhile, SEC commissioner Caroline Crenshaw expressed strong dissent, labelling the regulator's decision as "unsound and ahistorical".

"I am concerned that these products will flood the markets and land squarely in the retirement accounts of US households who can least afford to lose their savings to the fraud and manipulation that appears prevalent in the spot bitcoin markets and will impact the ETPs," she said.

This article first appeared on Financial Standard

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Andrew McKean is a journalist at Financial Standard. He covers superannuation, wealth management and financial advice. Prior to this he has worked freelance for not-for-profit organisations and corporate educators. Andrew has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and non-fiction writing from Macquarie University. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.