Why is Bitcoin stagnated despite $2B in spot ETF inflows?

Why is Bitcoin stagnated despite $2B in spot ETF inflows?

Bitcoin has experienced a 6.7% drop after almost reaching $72,000 on May 21, settling at $67,100. This decline does not necessarily signal a bearish trend, as Bitcoin is still only 8.7% below its all-time high. However, investors are puzzled why the recent inflows into Bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) haven’t sparked more bullish sentiment.

Distribution of assets by the failed Mt. Gox exchange estate

Data from Farside Investors reveals $1.96 billion in net inflows into U.S. spot Bitcoin ETFs since May 15, equivalent to 64 days of BTC issuance from miners. Notably, the U.S. spot Bitcoin ETF market has now exceeded $50 billion in assets under management. In comparison, U.S. gold ETFs hold about $118.5 billion, according to the World Gold Council.

Moreover, inflows into spot Bitcoin ETFs typically prompt the withdrawal of Bitcoins from exchanges, which has dropped to its lowest level since March 2018—2.3 million BTC, as per Glassnode data.

Aggregate Bitcoin balances on exchanges, BTC. Source: Glassnode

Although there’s no certainty these coins will be sold in the near term, their transfer to cold storage and custodians outside of exchanges usually reduces market liquidity. This issue becomes more pronounced in bull markets, where thinner order books at higher price levels can amplify price movements due to aggressive buying.

Consequently, if institutional investors continue to acquire Bitcoin through ETFs yet the price keeps falling, it’s likely that selling pressure originates from the regular spot markets. It’s suggested that the movement of 141,686 BTC by the bankrupt Japanese exchange Mt. Gox on May 28 indicates an imminent asset distribution to its creditors, ahead of the scheduled deadline on October 31.

Over $9.4 billion worth of Bitcoin is owed to about 127,000 creditors of Mt. Gox, who have been waiting for over a decade since the exchange’s collapse in 2014 due to multiple hacks. Despite the short-term negative impact on Bitcoin’s price, Anndy Lian, an intergovernmental blockchain expert, believes that repaying this debt will resolve a longstanding issue and permanently remove the associated uncertainty.

Regulatory uncertainty and the anti-crypto lobby

Among the reasons prompting Bitcoin holders to cash out above $67,000 is the regulatory uncertainty in the United States. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have taken legal actions against leading exchanges and intermediaries, including Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, KuCoin, and Robinhood.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Justice has levied charges against the co-founders of Tornado Cash and the developers of Samourai Wallet for money laundering, as well as against Roger “Bitcoin Jesus” Ver for allegations of tax evasion and fraud dating back seven years. Although these events do not directly affect Bitcoin, they tarnish the industry’s image, making it less appealing to institutional investors.

This issue extends beyond the U.S. For instance, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission has issued an ultimatum to cryptocurrency exchanges that have not yet registered to operate in the area. As of May 31, only 18 exchanges have applied for a license, with major players such as OKX, Huobi, and Gate opting out due to the stringent regulatory requirements imposed by Hong Kong.

In addition to ongoing legal challenges and Wells notices, there’s a persistent political backlash against cryptocurrencies. On May 29, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and William Cassidy addressed a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration, claiming that cryptocurrencies have “played an increasingly prominent role” in the fentanyl trade. Senator Warren has previously faced criticism for using unreliable data in discussions about terrorism.

These factors, together with the potential impact on cryptocurrency intermediaries and the possible selling pressure from the distribution of Mt. Gox coins do not set a definitive upper limit for Bitcoin at $70,000 or similar levels. It remains to be seen whether spot ETF investors will maintain their positions as the U.S. debt continues to escalate. For now, the market appears to be under bearish control in the short term.

 

 

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/why-is-bitcoin-stagnated-despite-2b-in-spot-etf-inflows

Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author- “NFT: From Zero to Hero” and “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.

Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.

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The SEC’s Approval of Spot Ethereum ETFs: Why It Matters

The SEC’s Approval of Spot Ethereum ETFs: Why It Matters

On May 23, 2024, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the first spot Ethereum (ETH) exchange-traded funds (ETFs), a landmark decision that has sent ripples throughout the financial and cryptocurrencies worlds.

This development marks a significant milestone not just for Ethereum but for the broader cryptocurrency market, as it opens the floodgates for institutional investors to inject billions into the space.

I will comment on the implications of this approval, exploring its potential impact on Ethereum and the wider financial ecosystem, and consider the broader regulatory context and market dynamics.

Key Takeaways

  • The SEC’s approval of spot Ethereum ETFs marks a significant step towards the acceptance of cryptocurrencies within traditional financial markets.
  • The decision opens the door for institutional investors, such as pension funds and endowments, to invest in Ethereum, potentially injecting billions into the cryptocurrency market and driving significant price appreciation.
  • Ethereum’s shift to Proof of Stake and its expanding ecosystem, including DeFi and NFTs, positions it as a robust platform, further enhanced by the anticipated influx of institutional capital.
  • However, the SEC’s approval invites increased scrutiny and potential centralization, which could affect the decentralized nature of the Ethereum network.

The Significance of Spot Ether ETFs

The approval of spot Ether ETFs by the SEC is monumental for several reasons. Firstly, it signifies a growing acceptance and legitimization of cryptocurrencies within traditional financial markets. Unlike futures-based ETFs, which derive their value from derivative contracts, spot ETFs are directly backed by the underlying asset—in this case, Ether.

This means that investors in these ETFs are exposed to the actual price movements of Ether, providing a more straightforward and perhaps less speculative investment vehicle.

For institutional investors, the availability of spot Ether ETFs eliminates many of the barriers to entry that have historically impeded large-scale investment in cryptocurrencies. Regulatory uncertainty, custodial challenges, and concerns about market manipulation have all been significant deterrents.

With the SEC’s approval, these concerns are somewhat alleviated, paving the way for pension funds, endowments, and other large institutional players to allocate capital to Ether.

Market Reactions and Predictions

The immediate market reaction to the SEC’s decision was mixed, with both Bitcoin and Ether experiencing price declines shortly after the announcement. This counterintuitive response can be attributed to several factors, including profit-taking by investors who had anticipated the approval and market adjustments to the new influx of institutional interest.

However, in the medium to long term, the introduction of spot Ether ETFs is expected to have a profoundly positive impact on Ethereum’s price and market capitalization. Historical data from the approval of Bitcoin ETFs suggests a similar trajectory.

When the first Bitcoin futures ETFs were approve, Bitcoin’s price surged to an all-time high shortly thereafter. While the current market dynamics are different, the precedent suggests that increased institutional participation could drive significant price appreciation for Ether.

Ethereum’s Technological and Ecosystem Developments

Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has undergone significant technological advancements in recent years. The transition from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS) with the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade was a critical milestone. This upgrade drastically reduced Ethereum’s energy consumption by over 99%, addressing one of the major criticisms levied against cryptocurrencies.

Ethereum’s robust ecosystem, which includes decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and a multitude of decentralized applications (dApps) continues to expand. The total value locked (TVL) in DeFi protocols on Ethereum surpassed $115 billion, underscoring the platform’s growing utility and adoption.

Institutional Investment: A Double-Edged Sword

While the influx of institutional capital is generally seen as a positive development for Ethereum, it is not without potential drawbacks. One concern is the increased centralization of ETH holdings. As institutional investors accumulate large positions, the risk of centralization grows, potentially undermining the decentralized ethos of the Ethereum network.

Additionally, the involvement of large financial institutions could lead to increased regulatory scrutiny. While the SEC’s approval of spot Ether ETFs is a step toward regulatory clarity, it also opens the door for more stringent oversight. This could manifest in various forms, including more rigorous Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) requirements for exchanges and custodians.

The Broader Regulatory Landscape

The SEC’s decision comes at a time when global regulatory attitudes toward cryptocurrencies are evolving. In the United States, the Biden administration has taken a more proactive approach to cryptocurrency regulation, focusing on consumer protection, financial stability, and national security. The approval of spot Ether ETFs aligns with this approach, providing a regulated investment vehicle that mitigates some of the risks associated with direct cryptocurrency ownership.

Internationally, the regulatory environment is similarly dynamic. The European Union’s Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation, set to come into effect in 2024, aims to create a comprehensive regulatory framework for digital assets.

In Asia, countries like Singapore, South Korea and Japan are also moving toward clearer regulatory guidelines, recognizing the growing importance of cryptocurrencies in the global financial system.

Economic Implications and Future Outlook

The approval of spot Ether ETFs could have far-reaching economic implications. For one, it is likely to catalyze further innovation and development within the Ethereum ecosystem. Increased capital inflows can fund new projects, enhance existing protocols, and attract more developers to the network. This virtuous cycle of investment and innovation could accelerate Ethereum’s growth and solidify its position as the leading smart contract platform.

Furthermore, the broader cryptocurrency market stands to benefit from the increased legitimacy and institutional adoption of Ether. Bitcoin, often seen as a gateway to the crypto market, could experience renewed interest as investors diversify their portfolios to include other major cryptocurrencies. This could lead to a more mature and stable market, characterized by reduced volatility and increased liquidity.

Perspectives on Potential Risks

Despite the optimistic outlook, it is crucial to acknowledge the potential risks associated with the SEC’s approval of spot Ether ETFs. Market volatility remains a significant concern, as the cryptocurrency market is still relatively nascent and susceptible to rapid price swings. Additionally, the speculative nature of the market means that prices can be influenced by factors that are difficult to predict or control.

There is also the risk of regulatory changes. While the current regulatory environment is favorable, future administrations or shifts in policy could introduce new challenges. For instance, stricter regulations on cryptocurrency exchanges or changes in tax policy could impact the attractiveness of Ether as an investment.

Maybe another question to look at is “Is staking allowed?” And there are other teething issues too if I want to dig further from a regulatory standpoint.

The Bottom Line

The SEC’s approval of the first spot Ether ETFs represents a transformative moment for Ethereum and the broader cryptocurrency market. By providing a regulated and accessible investment vehicle, this decision has the potential to unlock significant institutional capital, driving further growth and adoption of Ethereum. It is essential to remain cognizant of the associated risks and challenges, including market volatility, regulatory changes, and the potential for increased centralization.

As Ethereum continues to evolve and its ecosystem expands, new technological advancements, regulatory developments, and market dynamics will shape its future trajectory.

For investors, developers, and policymakers alike, the approval of spot Ether ETFs is a pivotal event that underscores the growing importance of cryptocurrencies in the global financial landscape. Whether this will ultimately lead to a more stable and mature market or introduce new complexities and risks remains to be seen.

However, one thing is clear: Ethereum’s journey is far from over, and the next chapter promises to be both exciting and transformative.

 

Source: https://www.techopedia.com/sec-approval-of-spot-ethereum-etfs-why-it-matters

Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author- “NFT: From Zero to Hero” and “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.

Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.

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How the EU is regulating crypto-assets with MiCAR and why you should care

How the EU is regulating crypto-assets with MiCAR and why you should care

The EU has recently adopted the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCAR). This groundbreaking legislation aims to provide a clear and consistent framework for regulating crypto-assets and related services in the EU. MiCAR will apply from the end of 2024, with some provisions applying from mid-2024.

MiCAR defines crypto-assets as “a digital representation of value or rights which may be transferred and stored electronically, using distributed ledger technology or similar technology.” This definition covers various types of crypto-assets, such as cryptocurrencies, tokens, stablecoins, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). It excludes crypto-assets already regulated under existing EU financial services legislation, such as financial instruments, deposits, electronic money, or insurance products. I agree with this definition, as it is broad and neutral enough to capture the diversity and innovation of crypto-assets while also respecting the existing regulatory frameworks for other types of assets.

Furthermore, it classifies crypto-assets into three main categories: e-money tokens (EMTs), asset-referenced tokens (ARTs), and other tokens. EMTs are crypto-assets pegged to one official currency, such as Tether or USD Coin. ARTs are crypto-assets backed by a pool of assets, such as fiat currencies, commodities, or other crypto-assets. Other tokens are crypto-assets that have various purposes and characteristics, such as utility tokens, payment tokens, or governance tokens.

As mentioned above, MiCAR also introduces the concept of significant tokens for EMTs and ARTs, which are subject to additional requirements due to their potential impact on financial stability or monetary policy. The European Banking Authority (EBA) will identify and monitor significant tokens based on criteria such as the number of users, transaction values, interconnectedness with the financial system, or innovation or complexity of the token. I think this classification is reasonable and valuable, as it reflects the different functions and risks of crypto-assets while also allowing for some flexibility and adaptation. Personally, when I spoke to EU-based bankers who are considering ESG-related crypto funds, they mentioned that MiCAR should also consider the environmental and social impact of crypto-assets, especially those that consume a lot of energy or resources or those that may affect human rights or privacy. I did not comment on that, but I am well aware of their “crypto agenda”. Additionally, I also think that they should actively involve other stakeholders, such as consumers, investors, or developers, in identifying and monitoring significant tokens, as they may have valuable insights and feedback.

MiCAR imposes different authorization and supervision requirements for crypto-asset issuers and crypto-asset service providers (CASPs), depending on the type and significance of the crypto-asset. Crypto-asset issuers offer crypto-assets to the public or seek their admission to trading on a trading platform for crypto-assets. CASPs provide or perform services or activities related to crypto-assets, such as custody, exchange, execution, advice, or portfolio management. Crypto-asset issuers of EMTs and ARTs must obtain authorization from the competent authority of their home member state before offering or admitting such tokens to trading. They must also prepare and publish a white paper that discloses essential information about the crypto-asset project, such as the features, rights, and obligations of the crypto-asset, the risks and costs involved, the governance and technical arrangements, and the identity and contact details of the issuer. Do note that they do not need authorization but must comply with the white paper requirement and other general obligations.

CASPs must obtain authorization from the competent authority of their home member state before providing or performing any crypto-asset services or activities. They must also comply with prudential requirements, the conduct of business rules, safeguarding requirements, and anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) obligations. I support these requirements, as they aim to ensure the transparency, accountability, and responsibility of crypto-asset issuers and CASPs and protect the interests and rights of consumers, investors, and the public. On top of this, I think that MiCAR should also provide some incentives and benefits for crypto-asset issuers and CASPs that comply with these requirements, such as lower fees, faster processing, or broader access. I also think that MiCAR should promote cooperation and coordination among the competent authorities of different member states and other international regulators and organizations to avoid duplication, inconsistency, or conflict.

MiCAR also provides some transitionary provisions and exemptions for crypto-asset issuers and CASPs already operating in the EU before the application date of MiCAR. For example, those authorized or registered under national regimes in one or more member states may continue to operate in those member states until mid-2025 without obtaining authorization under MiCAR. However, they must comply with the relevant national rules and regulations and apply them by mid-2024 if they wish to operate in the EU after mid-2025.

They also established a pilot regime for distributed ledger technology (DLT) market infrastructures, which are a new type of market participants that use DLT to provide trading and settlement services for crypto-assets that qualify as financial instruments. The pilot regime aims to test the use of DLT in trading and post-trading crypto-assets while ensuring high investor protection and market integrity. The pilot regime will apply for five years from the application date of MiCAR, with a possibility of extension. These provisions are good in my opinion, as they recognize the diversity and maturity of the existing crypto-asset market in the EU and can provide a smooth and gradual transition to the new regulatory framework. They should also ensure a fair and equal treatment of all crypto-asset issuers and CASPs, regardless of origin, size, or status, and avoid creating undue advantages or disadvantages for some over others. If they can encourage and support the participation and experimentation of different actors and stakeholders in the pilot regime, such as incumbents, newcomers, or innovators, and foster a collaborative and inclusive environment for the development and adoption of DLT. This will be a big plus for them.

MiCAR does not apply to crypto-assets issued or guaranteed by central banks, member states, third countries, or public international organizations. It also does not apply to crypto-asset services or activities provided or performed by central banks or other public authorities in performing their public tasks or functions. These exemptions aim to preserve the monetary sovereignty and policy of the EU and its member states and facilitate the development of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and other public initiatives in the crypto-asset space. While I understand these exemptions, as they reflect the special and privileged status of central banks and public authorities and their role and responsibility in the monetary and financial system. However, I think MiCAR should also ensure a close and constructive dialogue and cooperation between the public and the private sectors and foster a balanced and complementary relationship between the traditional and innovative forms of money and finance. I also think that MiCAR should monitor and assess the impact and implications of CBDCs and other public initiatives on the crypto-asset market and address any potential issues or challenges that may arise.)

I also want to highlight that there are also some implications for investment firms and the travel rule, which are relevant to the crypto-asset market. Investment firms are those who provide or perform investment services or activities on a professional basis, such as execution of orders, portfolio management, or investment advice. The travel rule is a requirement that obliges financial institutions to exchange certain information about the originator and the beneficiary of a funds transfer, such as their names, addresses, account numbers, and transaction amounts.

They allow investment firms that are authorized under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2014/65/EU (MiFID II) to provide or perform crypto-asset services or activities in relation to crypto-assets that qualify as financial instruments without obtaining additional authorization under MiCAR. However, they must comply with the relevant MiFID II rules and regulations, as well as some specific requirements under MiCAR, such as the safeguarding and AML/CTF obligations. Investment firms that wish to provide or perform crypto-asset services or activities concerning crypto-assets that do not qualify as financial instruments must obtain authorization and comply with its rules and regulations.

The travel rule applies to crypto-asset transfers, which are any transactions resulting in the change of ownership of one or more crypto-assets from one person to another. MiCAR requires CASPs that are involved in crypto-asset transfers to exchange certain information with other CASPs, such as the name and account number of the originator and the beneficiary, the amount and type of crypto-asset transferred, and the date and time of the crypto-asset transfer. The CASPs must ensure that the information is accurate, complete, secure, and confidentially transmitted. They must also keep records of the information for at least five years. They must implement the travel rule by mid-2024, the same date as applying the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards on virtual assets and virtual asset service providers.

They aim to establish a level playing field and a single market for crypto-assets and related services within the EU. This is achieved by harmonizing and simplifying the current national regulatory frameworks, thereby eliminating regulatory fragmentation and uncertainty. They also acknowledge the need for a degree of regulatory flexibility and discretion at the national level, which opens the door to regulatory arbitrage and competition among EU member states in specific areas. Some of the leading EU jurisdictions for MiCAR compliance and regulatory arbitrage are France, Germany, and Malta. These jurisdictions have already adopted national regimes for crypto-assets and related services, which are solid, flexible, favorable, attractive, and clear and consistent. They also have supportive and innovative regulators, such as the AMF, BaFin, and MFSA, which have issued several guidance and recommendations on crypto-assets and related services. They also have robust and diversified crypto-asset ecosystems, with several established and emerging players. These jurisdictions are likely to maintain and enhance their leading positions in the crypto-asset market under MiCAR, as they have a competitive edge and a first-mover advantage over other member states.

To sum up, MiCAR is a landmark legislation shaping the future of crypto-assets in the EU. It will introduce legal certainty, consumer protection, market integrity, and financial stability and foster innovation and competition by enabling cross-border activities and passporting rights for crypto-asset issuers and CASPs within the EU.

They are visionary and ambitious legislation that reflects the importance and potential of crypto-assets and related services and that responds to the needs and expectations of the crypto-asset community and society at large. It is also a complex and dynamic legislation that requires constant monitoring and evaluation and may face some difficulties and uncertainties in its application and enforcement. I hope that MiCAR will be able to adapt and evolve with the changing and growing nature of crypto-assets and related services and that it will be able to achieve its objectives and benefits.

I look forward to seeing the development and implementation of this framework, and I hope it will contribute to the growth and maturity of the crypto-asset industry in the EU and beyond.

 

Source: https://www.financialexpress.com/business/digital-transformation-how-the-eu-is-regulating-crypto-assets-with-micar-and-why-you-should-care-3434243/

 

Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author- “NFT: From Zero to Hero” and “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.

Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.

j j j