The recent rally in the Bitcoin (BTC) market, which saw prices hit two-month highs near $30,000 on Monday following false reports that the US Securities and Exchange Commission had approved BlackRock’s spot Bitcoin ETF application, is “an example of the pent-up interest in crypto” opined BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink in a Fox Business interview on Monday.
“We are hearing from clients around the world about the need for crypto,” Fink said.
Fink noted that he couldn’t comment on the progress of the spot Bitcoin ETF application.
But he did note that the recent Bitcoin rally could be due to safe-haven demand, citing issues surrounding the Israeli war and global terrorism.
Fink is a Skeptic No More
BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager and a household name on Wall Street, applied to create a spot Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) back in June.
June’s application marked a full reversal in BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s opinion on Bitcoin.
Back in 2017, Fink had referred to Bitcoin as an index of money laundering, but in 2023 he is now praising the cryptocurrency as having digitized gold.
The SEC has previously rejected all similar spot Bitcoin ETF applications, but BlackRock’s application included a new market surveillance and information-sharing agreement designed to make it easier for the SEC to stamp out any potential market manipulation.
Dozens of other major US financial institutions rushed to file their own copycat applications in the subsequent days following BlackRock’s initial application.
BlackRock and other major firms like Fidelity and Vanguard are viewed as having huge sway over US financial regulators and the government, and rarely submit ETF applications if they don’t feel there is a strong likelihood they will be approved – for this reason, most analysts feel it is a matter of when not if the latest batch of spot Bitcoin ETF applications will be approved.
Spot Bitcoin ETFs by Next March?
Further boosting the market’s confidence that spot Bitcoin ETF applications are on the way was a decision by the SEC last week not to appeal a recent legal loss they sustained regarding their decision not to approve Grayscale’s application to transform its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into a spot ETF.
Back in August, a US judge struck down the SEC’s rejection of Grayscale’s application and the deadline for the SEC to appeal this decision was last week.
The agency’s decision not to fight against the judge’s ruling could be a sign that the agency is readying itself to approve a number of spot Bitcoin ETFs in the coming months.
The final deadline for the SEC to make a decision on BlackRock’s and the dozens of other spot Bitcoin ETF applications that were submitted to the agency in June is around mid-March 2024.
Bullish Narratives for 2024
Assuming these applications to get the green light, this could be a key bullish narrative for Bitcoin in 2024.
The approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs would be seen as a regulatory “stamp of approval” that would likely boost investor confidence in Bitcoin as an asset, especially amongst institutional investors.
It will also make it much easier for investors who don’t understand the ins and outs of web3 and dealing with crypto exchanges etc. invest in Bitcoin with their existing brokers.
The issuers of spot Bitcoin ETFs are also expected dedicate large marketing budgets to promoting their new ETFs, which could help Bitcoin’s standing in the court of public opinion.
The halving of Bitcoin’s issuance rate in April is another highly touted bullish narrative for 2024, as could be a so-called pivot from the Federal Reserve regarding interest rate policy from a bias towards more interest rate hikes towards a bias towards rate cutes.
Major rallies in the BTC price to new all-time highs have typically occurred in the quarters immediately following Bitcoin’s prior halving events.
Meanwhile, financial conditions have had a strong positive correlation to Bitcoin in recent years, with Bitcoin tending to perform well in periods of easier/easing conditions, and tending to perform worse in periods of tighter/tightening financial conditions.