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When Will Bitcoin ETF be Approved? Top 5 Predictions

Last Updated November 8, 2023 5:22 PM
Josh Adams
Last Updated November 8, 2023 5:22 PM
Key Takeaways
  • Anticipation for a spot Bitcoin ETF is sky-high.
  • The SEC is currently reviewing several applications for approval.
  • We’ve summarized some of the best predictions of when that might happen.

The question on every crypto investor’s mind is when will the SEC finally approve a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF)? While the SEC has rejected numerous Bitcoin ETF applications in the past, the prospect of approval seems likelier now as more mainstream financial institutions embrace crypto. 

Furthermore, the expectation across the industry is that any approval will make a huge, positive difference to Bitcoin’s price. To get a sense of where the experts are, we gathered predictions from five industry figures on when they think the regulatory gates will finally open for Bitcoin ETFs.

The Predictions

Markus Thielen, Deribit Insights Analyst

According to Thielen , the narrowing discount of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) from -44% to -14% signals the market is confident the SEC will approve a Bitcoin ETF soon. He estimates traders are pricing in an 86% probability of ETF approval based on GBTC‘s shrinking discount.

Thielen also notes Bitcoin could surge 10% or more when an ETF is approved, similar to its jump on false rumors of approval in the past. In his view, the most profitable trade will be a deep OTM call option that suddenly becomes ITM around the announcement. Thielen seems to expect approval sometime before January 2024 based on implied volatility trends.

Bitcoin price in 2023.
Bitcoin has had a pretty impressive 2023, considering the nadir of the previous year. Source: CoinMarketCap.

Gautam Chhugani, Bernstein Analyst

The Bernstein managing director and senior analyst, Gautam Chhugani , predicts  the SEC will approve a Bitcoin ETF in Q1 2024. Chhugani sees ETFs from asset managers like BlackRock and Fidelity as imminent and hugely bullish for Bitcoin’s valuation.

In his view, ETF approval could shift up to 10% of Bitcoin’s supply into ETFs and propel prices as high as $150,000 by 2025— nearly five times Bitcoin’s current price.

Steve McClurg, Valkyrie CIO

In early November, Steve McClurg, the Chief Investment Officer of Valkyrie, revealed  that he expects a spot bitcoin ETF approval from the SEC by November 2023. He believes the SEC will issue another round of comments on Valkyrie’s filing within weeks, potentially approving new rule changes by month’s end. 

However, McClurg notes the SEC could wait until January 2024 to finalize ETF applications before green-lighting launches in February 2024. Valkyrie is one of the many firms to have applied for their own spot Bitcoin ETF.

James Seyffart and Eric Balchunas, Bloomberg Intelligence

James Seyffart and Eric Balchunas are one of the most listened-to experts on ETFs, as prominent ETF Research Analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence. He predicts  75% odds of ETF approval by the end of 2023, with a decision potentially coming between November 8 and November 21. 

He expects the SEC to approve multiple ETFs simultaneously to avoid the perception of favoritism. Seyffart says it’s unlikely the SEC denies the last ETF application on January 10, 2024 and then approves the rest in March, making November to December 2023 the likely window.

Mike Novogratz, Galaxy Digital CEO

Back in August, the CEO of Galaxy Digital predicted  at least one spot Bitcoin ETF will be approved within 6 months, so by February 2024 in his estimation. He reiterated  this timeline in October 2023, noting SEC approval could come in December 2023 but trading might not start until 2024. As a crypto insider, Novogratz’s prediction carries significant weight.

The expert consensus seems to converge between late 2023 and early 2024 for the long-awaited SEC approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs. While uncertainties remain, the momentum clearly seems to be building. With Bitcoin up an impressive 113% so far this year, according to CoinMarketCap , an ETF green light could provide the catalyst for the next major bull run.

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