The Historic Approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs by the SEC: A Game-Changer for Crypto, Exploring the Role of Money Market Fund (“MMF”)
Published on January 12, 2024
Author : Greg Hauw, Founder & CEO, Ohanae, Inc

Introduction: Unlocking New Horizons for Cryptocurrency Investments

The recent approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") marks a historic milestone in the crypto industry. After years of rejections and negotiations, 11 prominent issuers, including BlackRock, Grayscale, Fidelity, and others, received the green light to launch these exchange-traded funds based primarily on the price of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin's Journey to Mainstream Acceptance

Bitcoin, the largest digital asset by market capitalization, has long been seen as a speculative and volatile asset. However, the SEC's approval suggests a shifting tide in the perception of cryptocurrency, bringing it closer to mainstream acceptance. As Bitcoin prices experienced a modest uptick following the announcement, reaching $46,500, the broader implications of this decision were set in motion.

Spot Bitcoin ETFs: A Closer Look

Spot Bitcoin ETFs, distinguished by their direct investment in the digital currency itself, present a new paradigm for investors. Unlike traditional ETFs, which often rely on "in-kind" transfers, these approved Bitcoin ETFs will employ a cash creation methodology. This means that instead of exchanging a predefined amount of Bitcoin for ETF shares, issuers will publish real-time cash amounts, reflecting the changing price of Bitcoin.

In-Kind Creation vs. Cash Creation Dynamics

While some critics argue that the move to cash creation may momentarily delay the backing of the fund with Bitcoin, it doesn't necessarily imply a lack of 100% Bitcoin backing. The issuer is obliged to purchase the required Bitcoin promptly to align with fund covenants or sell Bitcoin in the case of redemption. This mechanism, standard across all ETFs, ensures the fund's integrity but introduces a new layer of complexity for Spot Bitcoin ETFs.

Market Dynamics and Spread Considerations

Cash creation introduces challenges for issuers in quoting tight spreads between creation and redemption cash amounts. To minimize risk, issuers may quote cash prices above the actual Bitcoin trading price. However, wider spreads could emerge, impacting the ETF's overall performance. The need for sophisticated technology to navigate these complexities becomes evident, as seen in the example of trading on multiple regulated exchanges.

SEC's Decision and the Cash Creation Mandate

The SEC's insistence on cash creation methodology stems from regulatory constraints on Authorized Participants ("AP"), who are broker-dealers regulated by the SEC and FINRA. The SEC has not yet approved regulated broker-dealers to trade spot Bitcoin directly, a requirement for "in-kind" creation. The decision aims to address regulatory gaps rather than a sinister motive, debunking conspiracy theories.

Spot ETFs: A Significant Leap for Bitcoin, But Details Matter

Spot Bitcoin ETFs represent a significant leap for the crypto industry, promising increased accessibility for traditional investors. However, the devil lies in the details. Investors must scrutinize each issuer's mechanisms for quoting and trading during the creation and redemption process. Custodial processes, fees, and, importantly, how they plan to navigate the market will significantly impact investor outcomes.

The Web3 Solution: Ohanae OTC Market Platform

Amidst this transformative landscape, the Ohanae OTC Market Platform emerges as a potential solution. By harnessing the power of Web3, this platform introduces a mainnet blockchain, tokenization of securities via equity tokens, and a 24x7 automated market maker ("AMM") based alternative trading system ("ATS"). Additionally, it proposes deposit coins pegged 1:1 to the US$, ensuring atomic settlement, and a FINRA-approved Special Purpose Broker Dealer ("SPBD") for digital asset securities custody.

Money Market Funds (MMFs): An Alternative Investment Avenue

As the crypto market undergoes a paradigm shift, investors might explore alternative avenues such as Money Market Funds ("MMF"). These funds, comprising Treasury Bonds, and Treasury Bills, provide a more conservative investment option. MMFs are renowned for their stability, liquidity, and relatively low-risk profile compared to the inherent volatility of cryptocurrencies.

MMFs vs. Spot Bitcoin ETFs: Understanding the Differences

While MMFs offer a stable investment environment and serve as a haven for risk-averse investors, Spot Bitcoin ETFs cater to those seeking exposure to the potential high returns of cryptocurrencies. Understanding the differences in risk, return, and investment objectives is crucial for investors navigating these diverse avenues.

Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval: A Catalyst for Altcoins

Following the SEC's approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs, the cryptocurrency market experienced an unexpected surge, not primarily in Bitcoin but in altcoins. Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and other altcoins witnessed double-digit gains. This unexpected dynamic raises questions about the intricate interplay between regulatory decisions, investor sentiment, and market trends.

Bitcoin ETF Hype: More Memestock Than Gold 2.0?

While the SEC's approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs generated immense hype and bullish sentiment, parallels are drawn to the meme stock frenzy. The approval, akin to the legitimacy granted by institutions, fuels speculation. However, the article suggests caution in equating Bitcoin to Gold 2.0, emphasizing Bitcoin's speculative nature and its lack of proven attributes as a hedge against inflation.

Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval and Altcoin Rally: Decoding Market Dynamics

The approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs led to a peculiar market dynamic where Bitcoin, the primary asset influenced by the ETF, experienced modest gains, while altcoins witnessed substantial rallies. Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and specific altcoins like Rocket Pool's RPL and Blur's BLR surged significantly. Deciphering the underlying factors contributing to this market behavior requires a nuanced understanding of investor behavior and market psychology.

Bitcoin ETF Approval: A Boon for Speculators, But Uncertainties Loom

The SEC's approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs stirred a wave of speculation, reminiscent of meme stock fervor. While the approval is hailed as a boon for speculators, this article cautions against viewing it as a guarantee for Bitcoin's transformation into Gold 2.0. The uncertain path ahead, regulatory gray zones, and potential market corrections underscore the complexities and unpredictability associated with crypto investments.

Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval: Lessons from ETF History

Drawing parallels with historical ETF launches, especially the first U.S. gold ETF in 2004, provides valuable lessons. The sustained surge in gold prices for nine consecutive years post-ETF launch highlights the transformative potential of ETFs for alternative assets. Analyzing the gradual nature of investor flows and the coexistence of ETFs with other access modes offers insights into the potential trajectory of Spot Bitcoin ETFs.

Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval: A Gateway to Mainstream Investment?

Beyond being a market event, the approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs signifies a potential gateway to mainstream investment. Mirroring the impact of the gold ETF on gold's acceptance, there is a belief that Spot Bitcoin ETFs could attract trillions of dollars in institutional investments. This evolution positions Bitcoin as a legitimate contender for a share of the vast global savings and retirement cash.

Conclusion: Navigating a Transformed Landscape with MMFs and Crypto

As the crypto landscape undergoes a seismic shift with the approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs, investors find themselves at the crossroads of traditional stability in Money Market Funds ("MMF") and the dynamic potential of the cryptocurrency market. Navigating this transformed landscape requires a nuanced understanding of risk, market dynamics, and the evolving relationship between institutional players and regulatory bodies. The coming months will unveil the true impact of this historic approval on the broader financial ecosystem.


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