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Bitcoin ETF-Approval Odds "Are Way Up", Analyst Says

One of Wall Street’s first bitcoin analysts believes the chances that the SEC will approve the first bitcoin exchange-trade fund by the end of 2018 have improved substantially since the agency rejected two proposed funds back in March.

“Things have changed. My odds of Bitcoin ETF approval within 18 months are WAY up,” said the analyst, Spencer Bogart, formerly of investment bank Needham & Co., in a tweet.

Things have changed. My odds of Bitcoin ETF approval within 18 months are WAY up.

— Spencer Bogart (@bitcom21)

Bogart believes the probability that an ETF will be approved during this time frame has climbed above 75%.

While Bogart didn’t elaborate on his reasoning, or provide concrete odds, the SEC and other US regulators appear to have warmed to bitcoin in recent months. Last week, the SEC ruled that coins produced by initial coin offerings are securities and should be registered and regulated as such.

In June, The CFTC issue a license to LedgerX allowing it to create the first swap-execution facility for the clearing and settlement of bitcoin options, a decision that will likely attract more traditional hedge funds and CTAs to trade crypto.

Grayscale, the sponsor of the Greyscale Bitcoin Investment Trust, an open-ended grantor trust that trades OTC, is seeking permission to list GBTC on the NYSE’s Arca platform, which would effectively transform it into the first bitcoin ETF (and we note that its NAV premium has actually normalized very modestly in recent weeks since we brought attention to it...)

A final ruling from the SEC is expected during the fall.

Bogart, who is now the head of research at Blockchain Capital, correctly anticipated the SEC’s previous rejections in a widely distributed research paper published when he was still at Needham. Back in February, Bogart said that the fund could attract $300 million in capital during its first weeks, which would likely cause the bitcoin price to surge.  

And finally, with approvals for options/futures, we suspect a Bitcoin Futures ETF may actually occur before a Bitcoin ETF.