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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.