According to an official interview from the Chief Executive Office (CEO) of BitGo, Mike Belshe, it is “quite likely” that the .S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will reject a series of spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications, despite the optimism currently circling around the industry.
- BitGo CEO is pessimistic about the approval of Bitcoin ETFs
- According to Belshe, the SEC will likely reject the applications
- James Seyffart is far more optimistic and has set January 10, 2024, as an approval date
BitGo CEO Shares Pessimism on Bitcoin ETFs During a Bloomberg Interview
Speaking at a Bloomberg Interview, later posted on YouTube, Mike Belshe said that the SEC might reject the current applications. This is on the basis that exchanges and custody are not separated. Coinbase was selected by several applicants as a custody partner for a potential ETF, for example.
Yet, according to Belshe, There are a lot of risks in the entity Coinbase that are not yet understood. The CEO thinks that the SEC could likely come back and say no, as they need to separate out those things fully before moves forward are made.
Several ETF analysts have said that the chances of an ETF being approved in January are around 90%, going against this initial belief. The SEC has rejected numerous applications so far throughout the past few years, as they are citing concerns surrounding potential market manipulation and the overall lack of customer protection.
Why the Crypto Industry Is Optimistic About Bitcoin ETFs
James Seyffart, a major ETF analyst, made a post on November 14, 2023, where he went over how we are now nearing the deadline dates for three spot Bitcoin ETF applications.
He signified how there is a pretty good chance that the industry will see delayed orders from the SEC. However, Seyffart noted how these delays would not change anything about the broader market’s views and that there are 90% odds for 19b-4 approval by January 10, 2024.
Based on the posted screenshot, the firms that have already filed an application for such an ETF include Grayscale, ARK and 21 shares, iShares, Bitwise, VanEck, Invesco Galaxy, Wise Origin, Valkyrie, Hashdex and Franklin. As a result, it’s clear that the demand and the push for such a product are currently massive.
The Likely Outcome
Belshe noted that prior to FTX’s collapse, the disgraced founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, attempted to persuade the U.S. regulators to follow his vision of how the regulatory framework for the crypto industry needs to look.
This bet did not pay off for Bankman-Fried, who is now facing a maximum sentence of 115 years in prison after he was found guilty of fraud and for misappropriation of FTX customer funds.
The Wall Street giants are going in a similar direction with ETF applications, putting Coinbase Custody, a custodial service issued by the Coinbase crypto exchange, as their trusted custodial solution.
“I’m not trying to say that they [Coinbase] are an FTX by any means. [But] they are taking on also kind of that same playbook in addition to being an exchange and a custodian,” noted Mike Belshe.
So far, the SEC has shown no signs of decreasing the scrutiny of a spot Bitcoin ETF, saying that applications have not yet proven that they can protect investors from making market manipulations. In November of 2023, the U.S. financial watchdog also delayed the decision on Hashdex’s application to launch a spot Bitcoin ETF in the U.S.