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Is a Bitcoin ETF Necessary?

Bitcoin is still edging closer to its original dominance level of half the entire market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies – ~49% at the time of this writing – despite the delay in the much-awaited decision on the CBOE Van Eck Bitcoin ETF and the slight negative effect it had on prices of cryptocurrencies.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delay of the anticipated decision is gradually being put in the same class as the scaling issue and its debate as well as the related damaging forks that accompanied it through 2017. The delay also seems to have blown the lid on the debate of whether Bitcoin – as the most important cryptocurrency at the moment – really needs an ETF considering how the value of Bitcoin seems to correlate with some actions or news related to the SEC, banks and/or ETF decisions.

It has been suggested that many people in the crypto industry get drawn easily to the negativity from the plethora of random news shared by outlets that are hardly reliable. As a result, trading decisions are made based on these news articles rather than hard facts which emphasizes the need for proper education on the subject.

The assumption is corroborated in a new working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research. Its authors, Yukun Liu and Aleh Tsyvinski from Yale University, conclude that only cryptocurrency market specific factors such as momentum and proxies like the Google search proxy for investor attention consistently explain the variations that positively predict cryptocurrency returns.

Their study is on whether major cryptocurrencies comove with stocks, currencies, commodities, macroeconomic factors and the cryptocurrency market specific factors. They found that markets do not view cryptocurrencies similarly as they do to standard asset classes. This gave them a reason to doubt that the behavior of cryptocurrencies is driven by its functions as a stake in the future of blockhain technology like stocks, as a unit of account like currencies or as a store of value such as with precious metal commodities.

After the news of the SEC delay, CBOE has reportedly come out to express confidence in the consideration process saying the delay was expected and they are certain it would be approved. The optimism is, in a way, boosting the morale of ETF proponents who believe its existence will help offer institutional support that may get a tiny fraction of investors’ portfolio into crypto by allowing financial advisors buy and sell cryptocurrencies legally.

Others argue that most ETFs are associated with a centralized system which could be a problem since they can use the resources at their disposal to control the momentum via news and other channels. They also believe that since most ETFs are not backed by the physical commodity, Bitcoin has seen huge growth in the past without them and could still see it in the future.

In between these two opposing views are those who see an ETF as a leverage to adoption but does not stop Bitcoin from maintaining its known qualities such as trust.


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