Bitcoin is back on the table. After rejecting the filing for an ETF on this cryptocurrency by Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust (Pending:COIN), the SEC is reviewing its decision once again. The proposal actually involved listing the ETF on the Bats BZX exchange, one of the largest U.S. equities market operator (read: No Bitcoin ETF Says SEC: What's Next?).
Now that Bats' petition to the SEC to reconsider the decision, has been accepted by the authority, a new-found optimism has been noticed in the space. Apart from this fact, there was another tailwind that recently made bitcoin a hot investment. As per an article published on CNBC, "Japan legalized the cryptocurrency as a payment method recently and this has led to a greater amount of bitcoin being bought with yen."
The Russian government is also expected to make cryptocurrencies legal financial instruments in 2018, as per the source. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari pointed to the strength of the blockchain technology supporting bitcoin lately.
Overall, the currency has been firing on all cylinders since the beginning of 2017. Most recently, the currency surpassed the mark of $1,700. Its value beat the $900 mark in late December for the first time since February 2014. In mid-2015, the currency was at around $200 (read: Explaining Bitcoin and Crypto Currency).
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoins are 'mined' by using a greater amount of computer processing power. However, since there is a fixed amount of bitcoins, it becomes hard to 'mine' for the coins when the limit is reached. The best part of this system is that it is beyond the reach of central banks.
What Lies Ahead?
The tussle between the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission and Winklevoss over the launch has been going on for about three years. In fact, the issuer has restructured the proposal for the Bitcoin ETF multiple times.
The currency is in the limelight probably because of the fact that "bitcoin isn't regulated by any government and has been used by consumers worldwide to shelter assets from inflation or political upheavals in their home countries." As per an article published on CNBC, Bitcoin is emerging as a safe haven asset like gold.
With the SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSEARCA:GLD) coming under pressure due to rising rate prospects in the U.S. and a likely higher greenback, one can possibly find refuge in seemingly safe or alternative assets like bitcoin.
The operating backdrop may be strengthening for bitcoin, but the SEC is seemingly looking for more proof of the safety in this trade. Plus, after the refusal in March, chances of a SEC approval in the near term is less likely, unless and until further changes are probably done in the proposed fund.
As of now, investors probably have to be happy with traditional safe-haven assets and gold and silver bullion ETFs like GLD and the iShares Silver Trust ETF (NYSEARCA:SLV).
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