Bitcoin (BTC) has been on an impressive price run since the announcement of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval of ProShares’ Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) early in October, hitting a new all-time high of over $69,000 on Nov. 10, as per data from TradingView.
However, the financial watchdogs soured the mood by rejecting VanEck’s proposal for a spot ETF on Nov. 12, which acted as a trigger for the price of the flagship cryptocurrency to drop to a 30-day low of $55,705 on Nov. 19. The token is trading in the $56,000 range at the time of writing.
An ETF is a security class that tracks an asset or basket of assets, in this case Bitcoin, and can be traded on a stock exchange like any other stock. Proshares’ BTC ETF was the first ETF to gain approval from the SEC after over 20 applications had been made to the financial regulators in the past.
Jan van Eck, CEO of VanEck, wasn’t happy about the rejection of his company’s ETF.
We are disappointed in today’s update from the SEC declining approval of our physical bitcoin ETF. We believe that investors should be able to gain #BTC exposure through a regulated fund and that a non-futures ETF structure is the superior approach. @tyler @gaborgurbacs
— Jan van Eck (@JanvanEck3) November 12, 2021
The difference between the approved Bitcoin ETFs trading currently across various stock exchanges in the U.S. such as the Nasdaq or CBOE and VanEck’s rejected Bitcoin ETF is that VanEck’s ETF proposal was for a spot ETF, and the approved ETFs are all futures-based ETFs.
Van Eck said that a spot ETF is the better choice, tweeting, “We believe that investors should be able to gain #BTC exposure through a regulated fund and that a non-futures ETF structure is the superior approach.”
SEC Chair Gary Gensler has previously voiced his support for futures-based BTC ETFs instead of price-based. In the official decision to reject VanEck’s ETF application, the SEC said that the product failed to meet the requirement “that the rules of a national securities exchange be ‘designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices’ and ‘to protect investors and the public interest.’”
Futures are often a higher-risk product
However, it could be that financial regulators in the U.S., in rejecting VanEck’s spot ETF, have unleashed a risker product on the same investors it aims to protect, as it allows institutional Wall Street money to leverage Bitcoin’s price movements.
A futures contract gives the holder or buyer of the contract the obligation to purchase the underlying asset and the writer or seller of the contract the obligation to sell and deliver the asset at a specified price on a specified future date unless the holder closes their position prior to the expiration date.
Combined with options, these financial instruments are often used to hedge other positions in the investor’s portfolio or make profits from pure speculation without needing…