- Recent approval of the first spot Bitcoin ETF seems to be giving way to an ETF hangover
- A recent UN report raised ethical questions about crypto ETFs being linked to some assets
The investment world has been riding a high with Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), especially those tethered to the volatile yet intriguing cryptocurrency market. This surge, however, is showing signs of a potential ‘ETF hangover’ now.
In fact, experts are pondering over the sustainability of this hype now. The situation is a little more complex when considering recent developments like the UN’s critical report on Tether.
Bitcoin’s ETF approval and its hype
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently approved the first spot Bitcoin ETF. The allure of ETFs, especially in the crypto-domain, has been undeniable. The approval, long-awaited by the crypto-community, is expected to attract a broader range of investors to the digital currency market.
In a recent podcast, Haseeb Qureshi, Managing Partner at Dragonfly, shared his views on the recent ETF hype and its effective market response. Haseeb noted,
“The primary interesting thing was that it ended up being a sell-the-news event, which is more or less what a lot of people were predicting. Although Bitcoin slumped 3-4%, the trading in the volume was roughly in line with expectations. These Bitcoin ETFs traded quite a lot, especially relative to most ETF launches.”
New challenges on the horizon
However, this has also introduced new layers of complexity and risk. The confidential initial price offering (IPO) filing of Circle USDC, a major player in the stablecoin market, has stirred the pot.
This week on @_choppingblock, the gang dissects the hottest topics:
📈Crypto ETFs: Game Changers or Hype?
💱Circle’s IPO: Transforming Stablecoins?
📱Solana Phone: Innovation or Gimmick?https://t.co/KW9VLCDzTb
— Unchained (@Unchained_pod) January 18, 2024
Circle has struggled to keep up though and 2023 has been a tough financial year for USDC. The rumor of an IPO amidst the turmoil makes people question the intention behind the IPO itself.
In related news that can impact the future of ETFs, the UN’s report on Tether raised some serious questions. Especially in light of the fact that many illicit activities are alleged to be funded by cryptocurrencies. This report may have significant implications for crypto-ETFs, many of which are linked to assets like Tether. It cast some doubts on their reliability in accurately representing the risk and value of the underlying crypto-assets.
Haseeb Qureshi shed some light on the same. According to him,
“There was a UN report about Tether, a casino underground banking report, which claimed that Tether is used for a lot of Southeast Asia base human trafficking and pig butchering scams. Reports mention several slavery fraud farms where they will enslave people and get them to work on these crypto-based romance scams. Apparently, the most common asset they use in these scams is Tether.”
What does it mean for the future of ETFs?
As regulatory bodies like the SEC continue to scrutinize cryptocurrency ETFs, concerns relating to market manipulation and investor protection are paramount. In fact, SEC Chair Gary Gensler has repeatedly emphasized the need for stringent regulatory oversight,
“Protecting investors is our core mission. The growth of ETFs, particularly in the crypto space, requires careful examination to ensure that our regulatory standards keep pace.”
The changing landscape does not spell doom for ETFs, but indicates a shift towards more sophisticated and transparent investment products. As the market evolves, the role of these in investment portfolios may transform. Finally, this might align more closely with investor education and regulatory standards.