Among other things, 2018 was a tough year for Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) applications. Regulatory entities overseeing such proposals quickly quashed the crypto industry’s quixotic dreams, denying applications left and right — no holds barred. And interestingly, it seems as though this industry thematic development will continue into 2019, unfortunately enough.
Bloomberg Hypes Up Bitcoin ETF, Then Regulators Quash Hopes
Last week, Bloomberg, citing those familiar with the matter, revealed that Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) — the nation’s SEC equivalent — may be looking to allow Bitcoin ETF applications. The anonymous sources claimed that the FSA has “abandoned plans” to allow crypto-related derivatives, like physically-backed futures (Bakkt), from trading in Japan, but is looking into ETFs instead.
Those familiar claimed that the Japanese agency is currently doing its utmost to “gauge industry interest” in such an offering, and would file a bill on the matter by March if there was sufficient demand.
However, speaking to Bitcoin.com, a representative of the organization claimed that such plans are no in place. An FSA spokesperson noted:
“There is no such fact that we are considering approving ETFs which track crypto-assets at present… we are not currently considering approving them.”
The unnamed FSA representative added that his organization is not looking into Bitcoin derivatives either. Citing reasoning for this harrowing comment, which came straight out of left field, it was claimed that crypto assets-based products aren’t constructive nor socially significant. It was added that there is currently “no need” for crypto-backed derivatives either.
Not All Hope Is Lost
In spite of this updated development, there is still hope for this alternative investment vehicle. Bitwise Asset Management, a San Francisco-headquartered crypto index provider, recently filed an application with the SEC in a first for fiscal 2019.
Via the medium of a press release, Bitwise explained that it filed an early-stage application form for the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF, which would purportedly “capture the full value of an investment in BTC.” Per the company statement, Bitwise’s product “differs” from previous proposals, as the company intends to rely on third-party custodians and aggregated data to quell the SEC’s qualms with nascent market-centric vehicles.
More recently, the Winklevii (Winklevoss Twins) — the co-founders of Gemini, potential Facebook founders, long-time Bitcoin “HODLers,” Olympians, and Harvard grads — claimed that they are committed to seeing a crypto ETF through.
Speaking on Fortune’s “The Ledger,” the long-time crypto proponents explained that Gemini intends to see “[a Bitcoin ETF] through,” even if a fully-fledged regulatory go-ahead takes another six years.
Twin Cameron even explained that the SEC’s hesitance to accept such a vehicle is actually welcomed, remarking that since a Bitcoin ETF will be the first of many crypto-backed products, “we need to get it right.”