U.S. Launches Bitcoin ETFs: $4.6 Billion Traded on First Day

The U.S. witnessed a historic moment in the cryptocurrency industry with the trading of bitcoin ETFs, achieving $4.6 billion in volume on their first day. This event marks a significant milestone after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval, indicating a potential shift in the acceptance of digital assets as mainstream investments. Leading the charge were Grayscale, BlackRock, and Fidelity, with varied reactions from financial institutions regarding the perceived risks of bitcoin investments.

by Janice McAllister

In a landmark event for the cryptocurrency world, the United States embraced the launch of its first bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), witnessing a staggering $4.6 billion in trade volume on the inaugural day. This development followed the long-awaited approval by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday, signaling a potential turning point for broader acceptance of digital assets in the investment landscape.

The launch included eleven spot bitcoin ETFs, such as BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, and ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF. This introduction of bitcoin ETFs initiated a fierce battle for market dominance among these financial giants, with Grayscale, BlackRock, and Fidelity leading in trading volumes according to LSEG data. Todd Rosenbluth, a strategist at VettaFi, commented on the robust trading volumes, noting the importance of longevity beyond just the first day’s performance.

The SEC’s green light for these products came after a decade of intense negotiations and deliberations within the crypto industry. Despite some executives labeling bitcoin as high-risk and Vanguard’s decision to exclude these ETFs from its platform, the enthusiasm in the market was palpable. SEC Chair Gary Gensler maintained a cautious stance, emphasizing that the approval should not be seen as an endorsement of bitcoin, which he described as a speculative and volatile asset.

Coinciding with the ETF launches, bitcoin prices surged to their highest level since December 2021, reflecting renewed investor confidence. The ripple effect extended to ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, which also saw a price increase.

The competition among issuers intensified even before the launch, with many slashing their fees well below the industry standard to attract investors. For example, Valkyrie reduced its fees to 0.25% and waived them for the first three months post-launch.

In a significant development, Grayscale converted its existing bitcoin trust into an ETF, instantly becoming the world’s largest bitcoin ETF with over $28 billion in assets under management. Analysts’ predictions on the potential inflow into these ETFs vary, with estimates ranging from $10 billion to $100 billion in the upcoming year.

Market participants closely monitored the bid-ask spreads of these ETFs, as narrower spreads typically indicate greater desirability. Jason Stoneberg of Invesco emphasized the importance of trading volume and market participation in achieving favorable spreads.

However, some analysts advised caution, pointing to the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies and recent scandals, such as the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX in 2022, which have fueled investors’ apprehension.

Despite the skepticism from some quarters, including Vanguard and Goldman Sachs, the launch of these bitcoin ETFs is seen as a potential gateway to more innovative crypto-based investment products. Grayscale’s CEO, Michael Sonnenshein, revealed plans for a covered call ETF, allowing investors to generate income from options on their spot bitcoin product.

Cryptocurrency-related stocks exhibited mixed reactions, with some climbing while others, like bitcoin miners Riot Platforms and Marathon Digital, experienced declines. Similarly, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, which tracks bitcoin futures, showed modest gains.

In another significant move, Circle Internet Financial, the company behind the stablecoin USDC, announced its confidential filing for a U.S. initial public offering, highlighting the growing interest and expansion in the cryptocurrency sector.

The introduction of bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. market thus represents a pivotal moment for the cryptocurrency industry, potentially heralding a new era of digital asset investment. This development underscores the evolving landscape of financial markets and the increasing intersection of traditional finance with the burgeoning world of cryptocurrencies.

(Associated Medias | FAD) – All rights reserved.