- A bitcoin exchange-traded fund could finally land on Wall Street in 2021 after VanEck filed an application with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.
- Regulators have previously rejected numerous bitcoin ETF proposals, including one from VanEck in September 2019.
- But bitcoin's surge to new highs in 2020 - driven by increased adoption from institutions and a changing of the guard at the SEC - could improve the chance of regulatory approval for an ETF.
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A bitcoin ETF operated by VanEck would follow the path of gold-trust ETFs in that it would hold the underlying bitcoin, the filing said. The VanEck Bitcoin Trust would reflect the performance of the MVIS CryptoCompare Bitcoin Benchmark Rate.
Wall Street has been attempting to launch a bitcoin ETF for years, and VanEck had its last proposal rejected in September 2019.
But now, with a changing of the guard at the SEC and bitcoin's surge to new highs - driven in part by increased adoption from institutions - the chance of approval could be higher than ever.
Jay Clayton, who has opposed the launch of a bitcoin ETF during his tenure, stepped down as chairman of the SEC earlier this month. And Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has not been receptive to bitcoin, is set to be replaced by Janet Yellen next month.
Bitcoin is up nearly 300% year-to-date, and big-name Wall Street institutions have warmed to the cryptocurrency. MassMutual acquired $100 million worth of bitcoins earlier this month, and high-profile investors like Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller have also gotten on board with the cryptocurrency.
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Still, there are hurdles for a bitcoin ETF approval as it seeks acceptance among regulators, and it's likely to hinge on who President-elect Joe Biden chooses to run the SEC.