Displaying items by tag: crypto

According to Bloomberg senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas, there is only a 25% chance that the SEC approves a spot ethereum ETF. He points to the lack of SEC engagement on the topic and the absence of any positive signs or chatter on the subject, which is a departure from the lead-up to bitcoin’s approval. Balchunas believes this lack of engagement is ‘tactical’ rather than ‘procrastination’. 

The crux of the issue is how ethereum should be classified. There are indications that the SEC is leaning towards treating it like a security based on subpoenas to crypto companies that have interacted with the Ethereum Foundation. 

However, there are some dissenting voices who are more optimistic about approval. Craig Salm, Grayscale’s Chief Legal Officer, says the SEC’s reticence is due to most issues already being cleared up during the bitcoin ETF approval process. He believes both ETFs are nearly identical, except for the underlying asset. He also pointed to the approval of an ethereum futures ETF and its classification as a commodity future as a favorable sign. 

Currently, several asset managers have filed for approval for an ethereum ETF, including Blackrock, VanEck, ARK 21Shares, Fidelity, Invesco Galaxy, Grayscale, Franklin Templeton, and Hashdex. The most immediate deadline is May 23 for VanEck.

Finsum: Over the next couple of months, the SEC will decide on an ethereum ETF. Reading the tea leaves, Bloomberg’s Eric Balchunas is not optimistic that it will be approved. 

Published in Alternatives
Thursday, 21 March 2024 12:04

Why Vanguard Is Not Interested in a Bitcoin ETF

On January 10, the SEC approved 11 spot bitcoin ETFs. Vanguard quickly made the decision to not offer a bitcoin ETF. The decision has been met with resistance from customers. Recently, CEO Tim Buckley provided more insight into this decision, given that this has been a constant source of inquiry.

Overall, the firm doesn’t believe that bitcoin is a suitable investment option for a retirement plan, given the asset’s volatility and speculative nature. Buckley also rejects the notion that bitcoin is a 'store of value’, pointing to its severe declines in the past and correlation with equities. For example, bitcoin dropped from $69,000 to $16,000 between 2021 and 2022, while the S&P 500 was down 21% during this period from peak to trough.

Buckley added that he doesn’t believe that Vanguard will offer a bitcoin ETF until something significantly shifts in the asset class. In contrast, Vanguard only invests in asset classes with underlying cash flow. With equities, this refers to the future earnings of a company. For bonds, it can be calculated through a bond’s coupon and principal. Since bitcoin has failed to function as an effective ‘store of value’ and generates no cash flow at the moment, it remains purely a speculative asset, which makes it inconsistent with Vanguard’s principles and ethos. 

Finsum: Vanguard is not offering a bitcoin ETF, unlike many of its major competitors. CEO Tim Buckley shared why bitcoin is more of a speculative asset and unfit for long-term investing. 

Published in Alternatives

With the introduction of Bitcoin ETFs in January 2024, financial advisors are getting more questions from clients about whether it makes sense to consider these types of investments for their portfolios.


One topic that will undoubtedly get more attention in the press this year (2024) is the Bitcoin halving event, likely to occur in spring or early summer. Regardless of their view on this asset type, advisors should prepare themselves for client questions regarding this event.


Essentially, the Bitcoin protocol has pre-programmed events that periodically reduce by half the amount paid to the entities that verify Bitcoin transactions. Payments to these entities, called miners, are the only way new Bitcoins enter circulation. This means the rate at which new Bitcoins enter circulation is reduced. The point when the reward to miners is reduced by half is called a halving event.


The impact of a halving event on Bitcoin’s price is complex and debatable. Some believe that the reduced rate of new supply will cause the price of Bitcoin to rise. Others might make the case that factors beyond supply will have a more significant impact on the price in the future. Regardless, the performance of Bitcoin around the time of previous halving events is no guarantee of future price movements.

Finsum: Bitcoin is closing in on a halving event, and advisors should know the basics to answer client questions.

Published in Bonds: Total Market
Wednesday, 21 February 2024 13:45

Bitcoin ETFs: A Rocky Start, Now Soaring Demand

The highly anticipated launch of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in early January was met with a wave of excitement, with investors eager to gain exposure to this burgeoning asset class. However, their enthusiasm was quickly dampened as Bitcoin's price took a hit, dropping nearly 13% in the following days.

Despite the rocky start, a sense of cautious optimism has returned to the ETF space. Bitcoin's recent price surge has reignited investor interest, fueling a significant increase in inflows into these funds. CoinShares, a leading crypto asset management firm, reported (02/19/24) a record-breaking $2.4 billion flowing into Bitcoin ETFs last week, representing a remarkable turnaround.

This renewed demand presents a unique challenge for financial advisors. With clients increasingly inquiring about the potential role of Bitcoin ETFs in their portfolios, advisors need to navigate the complex landscape of this new asset class. While these ETFs offer a convenient way to gain exposure to Bitcoin, their inherent volatility demands careful consideration. Unlike traditional investment options, Bitcoin exhibits significant price fluctuations, making it a riskier proposition for many investors.

Finsum: Bitcoin ETFs got off to a rocky start in January, but flows into these funds are recovering remarkably as the cryptocurrency’s price soars.


Published in Wealth Management
Monday, 15 January 2024 05:51

Will Bitcoin ETFs Challenge Gold?

The SEC has approved the first set of bitcoin ETFs this week following a long review process. Multiple ETFs began trading on Thursday to prevent any firm from having a first-mover advantage. So far, the iShares Bitcoin Trust is the leader in terms of inflows followed by the Bitwise bitcoin ETF and the Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF.


This may adversely affect demand for gold as investors will have another option to diversify portfolios. According to Joy Yang, the Global Head of Index Product Management at MarketVector Indexes, these new ETFs will likely result in gold remaining range bound around current prices due to less interest from investors. She believes it could be similar to 2021 when gold underperformed during the bull market in cryptocurrencies.


Still, she doesn’t see gold falling below $2,000 in 2024 and is bullish on it in the longer-term due to geopolitical risks and economic and financial uncertainty. And she acknowledges that gold has more upside if the Fed is forced to cut more aggressively than currently anticipated. 


Overall, gold and bitcoin have many similarities despite one being less than 2 decades old, while the other has been around since the dawn of humanity. And both are ‘stores of value’ relative to currencies and offer protection against inflation. 

Finsum: Approval of multiple bitcoin ETFs is expected in the coming weeks. This is likely to have a negative impact on gold demand as investors will have another option to diversify their portfolios.


Published in Wealth Management
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