Matrixport, a leading digital finance platform, today, November 22, released a comprehensive research note focusing on the significant implications of yesterday’s developments in the crypto industry, particularly regarding the prospects of a spot Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) in the United States.
Following the guilty plea of Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) and the substantial financial settlements involved, Matrixport suggests that the path for approving a spot Bitcoin ETF might have become significantly clearer. The note highlights the regulatory crackdowns and compliance upgrades in the crypto sector, indicating a shift towards greater regulatory alignment with traditional financial (TradFi) systems.
“Some would argue that the US agencies have cleaned up the industry this year by dismantling the US crypto-related banks, as two of them were running an internal ledger that crypto companies could use 24/7 to transfer fiat. Arguably, few (perceived) major actors are left, and with Bitcoin only declining -3.4% during the last 24 hours, the market is stomaching a major risk-off event,” Matrixport remarks.
Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval Odds At 100% Now?
The company points out that with stringent enforcement actions and enhanced compliance programs becoming the norm among crypto exchanges, the differentiation between regulated and non-regulated cryptocurrency exchanges may become a key metric in 2024. This shift is seen as instrumental in the potential approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF in the US, a development long anticipated by the industry.
“The result will likely be that more exchanges will enhance their compliance programs and become part of a surveillance-sharing agreement, which will be instrumental in approving a spot Bitcoin ETF in the US,” the firm stated, adding, “With this plea deal, the expectations for a spot Bitcoin ETF might have increased to 100% as the industry will be forced to follow the rules that TradFi firms must follow.”
The firm believes that this “whitewashing” of the industry will not only enhance Bitcoin’s adoption by institutional players but also position it as a safe-haven asset in investment portfolios. “More importantly, this industry’s whitewashing will strengthen the Bitcoin adoption case for institutional players and will likely become a safe-haven asset in investors’ portfolios,” Matrixport predicts.
The note also touches on the anticipated sale of the FTX exchange and its potential relaunch under a US securities law-compliant management team by Q3 2024. Matrixport speculates that this could lead to significant inflows, estimated between $24-50 billion, into any US-listed Bitcoin ETF. They also note the increasing trend of crypto firms making markets on CME-listed crypto derivatives, indicating a shift from retail-focused, unregulated exchanges to those that are fully regulated and cater to institutional clients.
‘Dark Cloud Has Been Removed’ As ETF Makes Progress
Analysts and industry experts have echoed Matrixport’s sentiments. Will Clemente, a noted analyst, stated, “With resolution on Binance, just a matter of weeks until Bitcoin ETF approval now.” Tony “The Bull” Severino, head of research at NewsBTC, commented, “A dark cloud has just been removed from the crypto market.” Conversely, Scott Johnsson, a finance lawyer at Davis Polk, offered a more cautious view, suggesting that “It’s far more likely an ETF decision led the Binance resolution than the other way around imo. And I’m not convinced either is that likely.”
Remarkably, there has been some movement in the spot ETF approval process in the last few days. Ark Invest has kicked off the third round of amendments to the S-1 filings, Grayscale had a meeting with the US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday regarding its “uplisting.”
At press time, BTC traded at $36,483.
Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com