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The SEC Could Approve a Bitcoin ETF Within Two Years, Says Ric Edelman

According to Ric Edelman, the launch of a “pure-play” bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the USA may not be as far off as some think. The TV host predicted that such a product will see the light of day by the end of 2023 at the latest, as the SEC is “running out of excuses to say no.”

In addition, he expects that one-third of Americans will own bitcoin by the end of the ongoing year.

‘The SEC Is Going to Say Yes’

The approval of the first BTC futures-backed ETF in the United States was considered a major milestone for the growth and legitimacy of the industry as it showed that the watchdog is softening its stance to the world of crypto.

However, many believe greenlighting a futures-back ETF is not enough and want to see a spot exchange-traded fund tracking the performance of bitcoin.

In a recent interview for CNBC, Ric Edelman opined that the SEC will eventually approve such a product, which he referred to as a “pure-play” BTC ETF, in the next 48 months. He asserted that the Commission is running out of excuses to reject one:


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“The reason that I’m hopeful that it’s going to occur if not in ’22, then in 2023, is because the SEC is running out of excuses to say no.”

Edelman reminded that one of the top reasons the agency is still against it is because it claims it cannot handle that type of product “well enough.” Nonetheless, the SEC “can’t control gold or oil, either,” but it has still allowed such ETFs, the financial advisor noted.

The 63-year-old American also believes that without exchange-traded funds, investors risk being involved in frauds and other schemes. As such, “the SEC is going to say yes because they’re going to realize this is a step toward consumer protection.”

Ric Edelman
Ric Edelman, Source: InvestmentNews

Matthew Hougan – Bitwise’s CEO – agreed with Edelman’s statement. According to him, the US’s top monetary regulator has forced the digital asset market to mature with its refusals over the years. However, “it’s time to get over the hump” and approve a “pure-play” BTC ETF during 2021:

“It’s time to deliver to the American investors the lower cost and better protection and easier access that an ETF can provide. We’re getting there. I think we may get over the hurdle this year.”

Every Third American to Own BTC by The End of 2022

During his interview, Edelman also forecasted that more than 30% of US citizens will be bitcoin holders by the year’s end. In his view, the current percentage stands at around 25%.

He explained that the reason for the increased adoption is the broader popularization of the asset:

“A lot more people know about it and are investing in it than most realize. It’s kind of like teenagers buying beer. They’re doing it, they just don’t want you to know about it,” he said.

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TransUnion Partners With Spring Labs to Bring Credit Rating to Crypto Lending

Creditworthiness checks may soon be a thing in the crypto lending arena following plans by TransUnion and Spring Labs to introduce credit scores as part of the latter’s Digital Passport for obtaining digital asset loans.

Credit Score System Introduced In Crypto Lending Market

The Wall Street Journal reported that TransUnion, a major consumer credit reporting firm in the U.S., announced a partnership with security company Spring Labs to bring access to personal credit score reports into the crypto lending market.

The coverage disclosed that TransUnion plans to enable customers with this facility through Ky0x Digital Passport, a solution developed by Spring Labs to bridge the gap between web 3.0 applications and custom off-chain data.

The digital passport gives users know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) identity verification badges while protecting personal data from public access. Users will also be able to attach their credit score reports to their digital wallets before the end of 2022.

With the passport in play, TransUnion customers stand a better chance of receiving improved interest rates, according to both companies. Also, incorporating credit scores on the digital passport for blockchain companies to access introduces creditworthiness checks and could pave the way for zero-collateral loans.


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Both entities believe this move will create better opportunities in the digital asset lending economy while also fostering greater trust between lenders and customers by reducing the risks involved.

Speaking on the announcement, President of U.S. Markets and Consumer Interactive at TransUnion Steve Chaouki explained that the firm recognizes the growth potential of the DeFi space. As such, it sees this as the perfect opportunity to provide users with the tools needed to safely interact with a broader set of financial products.

Chaouki also added that the partnership stimulates competition in the market and drives companies to develop more user-centric applications while remaining compliant with regulatory policies.

The news comes as the latest development involving both entities. In 2021, Spring Labs raised $30 million in funding to foster greater access to the firms’ data-exchange network. The funding round was led by TransUnion.

US Regulators Going After Crypto Lenders

Regulatory uncertainty remains an issue for crypto lending providers in the U.S. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reportedly cracked down on a number of platforms looking to offer their services.

Coinbase previously halted plans to introduce a crypto lending product to customers in the U.S. following legal pressure from the Commission. BlockFi, a centralized trading and lending digital asset outfit stopped operations after receiving a cease and desist order from the New Jersey Bureau of Securities back in July 2021. A similar order was also served to popular cryptocurrency lender Celcius.

Featured Image Courtesy of Yahoo

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Most Crypto Users Believe Cryptocurrency Payments Will Become a Standard, Paysafe Study Reveals

The use of cryptocurrencies has grown considerably over the past year, as more people fall down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. According to a study by payment processor PaySafe, most cryptocurrency enthusiasts are willing to put their money where their mouth is and get paid in cryptocurrencies, ditching fiat once and for all.

The report “Inside the crypto community: Plotting the journey to mass adoption” was published on January 11, 2022, revealing the most important trends among cryptocurrency users in the US and UK. The results are encouraging for those who are confident in a positive evolution of the cryptocurrency industry and the adoption of these technologies on a global scale.

Cryptocurrencies are the future, just not the present

The research covered a wide range of topics, from the demographics and interests of crypto community members to their motivations and knowledge of the tech and the whole ecosystem. The survey was commissioned in October 2021 and was conducted by the independent research house Sapio Research. The responses were collected via email exclusively from people who held cryptocurrencies at the time of the research

54% of respondents believe that cryptocurrencies are the future of finance and will eventually dominate the payments market globally. Some 60% considered that by this year (remembering that the survey was conducted at the end of 2021), cryptocurrencies will have a significant presence in the e-commerce sector. However, less than half of them believe physical stores will adopt cryptocurrency payment methods.

Most of crypto natives believe cryptocurrencies will be used extensively by eCommerce vendors starting 2022
Source: Paysafe

Despite the optimism, 70% of respondents said they have been hesitant to invest in cryptocurrencies at least once in their lives. Of this segment, 30% exited their positions when prices started to fall, while the rest attributed their doubts to bad press, social media, word-of-mouth, among other factors.


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Preferences Change Depending on Age and Gender

Cryptocurrency lovers want to use their tokens. 55% of respondents said they wanted to receive their salary in crypto. And these tokens are especially popular among Millennials and the Gen Z: 60% of 18 to 24 year-olds would be happy to receive their salary in cryptocurrencies. When the age rises to 23-34 years old the preference drops to 58%, while the percentage goes to 57% when the age is between 35 and 44 years old.

Respondents’ top reason for receiving a salary in cryptocurrencies is that they believe it is a wise investment that could appreciate value over time. The second choice is that many believe cryptocurrency payments will be popular in the future. Some 16% commented that they no longer trust traditional banks.

Also, the study found that men tend to be avid traders: 71% of respondents said they engage in day trading, while 68% said they trade once a day, and 58% go to their exchanges several times a week.

Males trade crypto in shorter timeframes than women. Image: Paysafe
Males trade crypto in shorter timeframes than women. Image: Paysafe

In contrast, women are more cautious, preferring to trade more extended positions. For example, 29% day trade while 61% trade once a year.

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Nasdaq-Listed Real Estate Company to Embrace Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and Shiba Inu Payments

Washington-based real estate firm – Harbor Custom Development, Inc. – will reportedly start accepting digital currencies as payment for its residential homes, apartments, condominiums, and other properties as of January 24th.

Crypto Making its Way in the Retail Estate Industry

According to a recent coverage, Harbor Custom Development, Inc. (Nasdaq ticker: HCDI) will embrace numerous digital assets as a means of settlement. Some of the assets include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), and the self-proclaimed DOGE-killer Shiba Inu (SHIB).

Commenting on the matter was Jeff Habersetzer – Chief Operating Officer at the company:

“Acceptance of digital currencies for our real estate offerings is a logical step for Harbor and demonstrates our flexible business model that separates us from our industry peers.”

Harbor Custom Development sells properties in Washington; Sacramento, California; Punta Gorda, Florida; and Austin, Texas. The cryptocurrency option will be available for residents of all aforementioned states.

According to Sterling Griffin – President and CEO of the firm – the company will open its doors to an industry with a purchasing power exceeding $1 trillion by enabling digital asset payments. The initiative also “places Harbor in a first-mover position of adoption,” he added.


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Not The First to Embrace Crypto in The Field

In April last year, one of the largest estate companies in the US – Caruso – enabled its tenants to pay rent with bitcoin, should they choose to do so. The company also invested an undisclosed amount in BTC as part of its treasury management strategy.

A few months later, Arte Surfside – a building offering deluxe properties in Miami Beach – sold one of its oceanfront condominiums for a whopping $22.5 million. The deal became the most expensive residential transaction paid with digital assets. However, it was not disclosed what type of cryptocurrency the buyer used.

Subsequently, in September, the New York-based property management company – Magnum Real Estate Group – announced it will accept Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment method for the sale of a shopping center in Manhattan. If someone decides to employ the primary cryptocurrency as a means of payment, they will break the previous record as this property is worth $29 million.

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2022 Opens in Red: BTC at 3-Month Low on Fed Balance Sheet Reduction Plans (Weekly Recap)

The first week of 2022 is starting off rather dramatically for Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency market, the total capitalization of which is down about $240 billion in seven days. This comes as the US Federal Reserve revealed plans to start reducing its balance sheet, which may start as soon as the next several months.

It’s safe to say that the Bitcoin price has seen better days. Down about 12.5% since this time last week, BTC currently trades at around $41,400. For the majority of the time throughout the past seven days, the cryptocurrency was chopping sideways, but then on January 6th, things took a turn for the worse when the price dropped towards $46K. Bears weren’t done yet, and today the price seems to be headed lower, having dipped below $41K.

The market sentiment is currently in a state of extreme fear, according to the Bitcoin Fear and Greed Index, which is at its lowest point since July last year. This is blatantly reflected on the charts as the broad majority of cryptocurrencies in the top 20 is in red, excluding only Chainlink (up 25.8%) and ATOM (up 43%). Ethereum is down 15.5%, BNB – 14.1%, Solana – 20.8%, ADA – 10.8%, DOT – 9.2%, and so forth.

Elsewhere in the cryptocurrency market, though, things are looking more promising and optimistic. The space of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) continues to boom with a recent announcement of Samsung diving in. The tech behemoth will be entering the metaverse through the popular project Decentraland (MANA). OpenSea – the biggest NFT marketplace – closed yet another funding round which brought its total valuation to a whopping $13 billion, clearly demonstrating the investors’ appetite.

In any case, it’s very interesting to see how things will shape up in the coming days and in 2022 altogether. Will we see a deeper correction, or will the industry grow even more than in 2021? Only time will tell.

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Market Data

Market Cap: $2,072B | 24H Vol: 180B | BTC Dominance: 39.9%

BTC: $41,320 (-12.5%%) | ETH: $3,129 (-15.5%) | ADA: $1.21 (-10.8%)

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This Week’s Crypto Headlines You Can’t Miss

3rd Largest Bitcoin Whale Swallows Another $24M Worth of BTC During the Dip. The third-largest Bitcoin address has bought another 551 BTC while the price was declining at an average point of $45,219. This week alone, the entity has accumulated over 1,000 BTC.

Samsung Dives Deeper into Metaverse Using Decentraland (MANA) Capabilities. The Korean-based tech giant, Samsung, has introduced a new feature that would allow its clients to attend live music events virtually through the metaverse. In doing so, the company has chosen Decentraland to build its venue.

Extreme Fear: Bitcoin Fear and Greed Index at Lowest Point Since July 2021. The Bitcoin Fear and Greed Index, which measures the overall market sentiment collecting various data points is at its lowest since July 2021. According to it, the current sentiment is extreme fear.

Airbnb CEO Dabbles With Adding Crypto Payments in 2022. The CEO of Airbnb took it to Twitter to find out any potential features that its customers want to see launched in 2022. The majority of respondents said cryptocurrency, and the high-ranking executive teased potential integrations.

OpenSea Valuation Grows to $13.3 Billion Following a $300 Million in Series C Funding. OpenSea – the leading non-fungible tokens (NFTs) marketplace – has raised $300 million in a funding round led by Paradigm and Coatue. This puts the company’s total valuation at $13.3 billion.

Bored Ape Yacht Club Surpasses $1 Billion in Total Traded Volume on OpenSea. One of the most popular NFT collections – the Bored Ape Yacht Club – managed to surpass $1 billion in total traded volume on OpenSea this week. The current floor price sits at 68 ETH, which is higher than the floor price of the famed Crypto Punks.

Charts

This week we have a chart analysis of Ethereum, Binance Coin, Cardano, Solana, and Luna – click here for the full price analysis.

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Disclaimer: Information found on CryptoPotato is those of writers quoted. It does not represent the opinions of CryptoPotato on whether to buy, sell, or hold any investments. You are advised to conduct your own research before making any investment decisions. Use provided information at your own risk. See Disclaimer for more information.

Cryptocurrency charts by TradingView.


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Uncategorized

CFTC Ordered Polymarket to Pay $1.4 Мillion in Penalties

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) ordered Polymarket – a decentralized platform that allows users to bet on the outcome of current events – to pay a $1.4 million civil monetary penalty. The agency claimed that the company did not seek a Designated Contract Market (DCM) or Swap Execution Facility (SEF) registration.

CFTC on the Hunt Again

According to an announcement by the government agency, Polymarket must also “wind down” all markets displayed on its website that do not comply with the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations.

Acting Director of Enforcement – Vincent McGonagle – noted that all derivatives markets must operate within the current law requirements regardless of the employed technology. The executive said those in the DeFi space should even be monitored under greater attention.

“Market participants should proactively engage with the CFTC to ensure that our markets remain robust, transparent, and afford customers the protection provided under the CEA and our regulations,” McGonagle added.

Upon receiving the penalty, Polymarket agreed with CFTC’s settlement and is “excited to move forward” and focus on its future.

Built on the Ethereum network, Polymarket is a decentralized prediction market that enables individuals to bet on the outcome of real-world events. Before clients can start speculating, they must deposit USDC into their wallets. Then, they can stake the assets on the future result of highly-debated topics and earn profits if right.


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Since its interception, the entity has offered more than 900 separate event markets. Some of its most popular ones include: “Will Trump win the 2020 presidential election?” or “Will Ethereum be above $2,500 on July 22?”

The CFTC’s Previous Charges

Polymarket is not the first crypto-related company to get fined by the CFTC. In August last year, the digital asset exchange – Bitmex – agreed to pay $100 million after the government agency accused the former of avoiding US regulations. Specifically, the CFTC blamed the company for operating an unregistered derivatives platform.

Shortly after, the Commission fined the trading venue Kraken with a $1.25 million civil monetary penalty. It claimed that the latter supposedly allowed US customers to access products prohibited for them.

Subsequently, last October, the CFTC ordered Tether and Bitfinex to pay a total of $42.5 million for breaking the law. The organizations were also instructed to desist from any further violations of the CEA.

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Uncategorized

FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried Believes 2022 Will Be a Year of Regulatory Clarity for the Crypto Industry

If you’re one of those anarchists who sees cryptocurrencies as an anti-establishment weapon, this might be uncomfortable for you. FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried expects a wave of regulatory moves starting in 2022 – and this, from his point of view, is an excellent thing.

In an interview for Bloomberg, the well-known cryptocurrency strategist shared his thoughts on the industry’s regulatory landscape, the state of NFTs, crypto gaming, the metaverse, and FTX’s strategies to raise its brand awareness.

And overall, Sam Bankman-Fried is very optimistic about it all.

Cryptocurrency Regulations: A Slow But Life-Changing Endeavor

Sam Bankman-Fried assured that the cryptocurrency industry, in general, has managed to gain the interest and respect of regulators around the world. Political efforts to touch this issue in Congress, the SEC, the CFTC, and other government offices is a sign of this progress.

And 2022 will be even busier in this regard, according to Bankman-Fried’s expectations.


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As a good CEO of a cryptocurrency exchange, Sam Bankman-Fried believes that the government’s stance will serve to boost cryptocurrency trading, significantly facilitating the entry of large investors.

“I’m optimistic about it (the price of Bitcoin), And the things that make me optimistic basically are (related to) more regulatory clarity in the US and globally, -which I think could help a ton- and institutional adoption. And I think those are also related to each other.”

This view has also been shared by other prominent analysts and investors in the cryptocurrency space. One such example is Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital, who has warned about the impact of bad crypto-related policies, repeatedly voicing the importance of attracting institutional capital to fuel a new bull run and promote a more robust industry.

But Sam Bankman-Fried sees the process as gradual rather than a sudden event. He explained that he does not see something evident in the next 3 to 6 months but instead expects it to be a slow process that will be “stretched out” over a few years.

Sam Bankman-Fried Talks About The Broader Crypto Space

Sam Bankman-Fried also touched on other important points during his interview. He mentioned that almost every financial institution he has spoken to is interested in entering or exploring the space of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.

He also said he expects that 2022 will mark the beginning of a significant breakthrough in stablecoins regulations and likely a greater involvement of the SEC and CFTC.

He also spoke of the potential for NFTs in the gaming industry, and the expansion of the metaverse. He believes that a proper crypto-gaming industry will take years to grow, but he does not deny the potential for it to become a global major industry:

“I think (we’ll be) starting to see digital assets make an appearance there (in the metaverse). I expect that’s going to happen in the next few years.”

For Sam Bankman-Fried, Meta (which is nothing more and nothing less than a metaverse-focused rebrand of the social media behemoth, Facebook) will be a catalyst for this growth. However, he expects activity around NFTs as we know them today to quiet down a bit before major players start to enter.

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Uncategorized

FTX US to Offer Crypto Derivatives and NFT Services to Customers

FTX US, the United States division of global cryptocurrency exchange, FTX.com, revealed today that its customers will soon be able to access crypto derivatives and non-fungible token (NFT) services on the platform.

According to Brett Harrison, the president of FTX US, the exchange is building a self-hosted wallet that will support FTX NFTs and NFT gaming.

The crypto exchange is also looking to offer tokenized stock trading to US customers.

FTX US Prepares to Offer Derivatives

The idea to offer crypto derivatives to US customers has been in the works for months.


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In October, FTX US made initial steps to expand its services to include derivatives by acquiring Ledger Holdings, the parent company of LedgerX, a regulated crypto derivative platform.

Following the acquisition, the crypto exchange rebranded LedgerX to FTX US Derivatives.

FTX US Obtains Derivatives Licenses

Shortly after the deal was finalized, the exchange obtained three licenses. These included a CFTC regulated Designated Contract Market (DCM), Swap Execution Facility (SEF), and Derivatives Clearing Organization (DCO) to enable it to offer derivatives services to crypto users in the United States.

Earlier this month, FTX.com, the parent company of FTX US, announced that its American division had become a member of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA).

“We’re excited to announce that FTX US is now a member of @ISDA. We are looking forward to working alongside ISDA and their CEO @ScottOMalia as we continue to build up crypto derivatives markets in the United States and globally,” FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) said.

ISDA is a private trade organization that helps to improve the trading of swaps and derivatives, identify and reduce risks for users of derivatives products.

FTX CEO: Regulation is Slowing Crypto’s Growth

Meanwhile, FTX.com is also looking to expand its product offerings with regulatory compliance.

Last week, Bankman-Fried outlined the necessary steps to drive the crypto space forward in 2022, stating that the main issue that is slowing down the industry’s growth is regulation.

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Uncategorized

FTX US President: We More Than Doubled Our User Count in Q4

The US-based department of the digital asset exchange FTX has more than doubled its user count in the past three months of 2021. This comes as global crypto adoption increases, while the company has inked numerous impressive partnerships.

  • The President of FTX US, Brett Harrison, took it to Twitter to outline the impressive 2021 growth, indicating that the US-regulated affiliate of FTX has “more than doubled its user count in Q4.”
  • As the graph above demonstrates, the US branch now has nearly 1,200,000 users, all coming on board this year. This comes after the company reported a 500% volume increase in Q3.
  • Aside from the total growth of the cryptocurrency space in terms of prices and new users, it’s worth highlighting some of FTX’s notable partnerships completed in 2021.
  • It started with a multi-million dollar deal with the Miami Heat to rebrand the latter’s home court to FTX Arena. Later on, the exchange bought an ad to be featured at the Super Bowl, collaborated with the F1 championship team Mercedes, and with Major League Baseball (MLB).
  • Separately, the company saw some well-known and reputable individuals joining as ambassadors or purchasing a stake. These included basketball megastar Steph Curry, prominent investor Kevin O’Leary, and football legend Tom Brady.
  • The exchange also joined the NFT craze by launching a marketplace for its US-based customers.
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Uncategorized

No Spot Bitcoin ETFs for American Investors This Year: SEC Shots Down Two Proposals

Reflecting on the past year, 2021 has been great for Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market. It even saw the birth of two BTC futures ETFs in the States, but with just a week remaining until the end of it, American investors might not see spot one.

SEC in no Mood for Spot Bitcoin ETFs

According to the official document, the SEC rejected physically-backed Bitcoin ETFs proposed by Valkyrie and Kryptoin. The regulator cited similar market manipulation concerns while referring to both to list and trade shares of Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund and the Kryptoin Bitcoin ETF Trust.

It stated that the two proposals did not meet its standard designed to ward off fraudulent and manipulative practices as well as protect market players and the public interest.

The two entities that filed to propose rule modifications to list and trade the two ETFs were NYSE Arca and Cboe BZX Exchange. However, the Commission noted that both “have not met its burden under the Exchange Act and the Commission’s Rules of Practice to demonstrate that its proposal is consistent with the requirements of Exchange Act Section 6(b)(5).”


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Besides, the US regulator started a formal review of Kryptoin’s bitcoin exchange-traded fund application in April this year. This isn’t the first time that the Delaware-based company has faced rejection. In 2019, the company failed to get a green signal from the regulatory authorities.

The decision comes more than a month after the SEC denied VanEck’s application for a spot Bitcoin ETF.

The launch of the first spot-Bitcoin ETF, remains in limbo for many investment fund providers across the country. However, the latest move isn’t surprising, as SEC Chair Gary Gensler has been very clear about his preference.

BITO Fails to Charm Investors

After years of failed attempts, the SEC finally approved BITO – the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF. However, in the first two months of its trading, the ETF paled in comparison to the underlying asset’s spot price.

According to Bloomberg Intelligence ETF Analyst James Seyffart, BITO was trailing spot by 2.34% with just about two months of data. Going forward, Seyffart believes the fund will continue to underperform spot by 13-14% in its first year. The gap between the asset and the fund is significant. As a result, many financial advisors would opt for it.

However, some long-term investors argue that offerings with a smaller allocation to BTC futures contracts could, in fact, emerge as more dominant in the coming year.

Featured Image Courtesy of CNN

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