Former BlackRock managing director and current CEO of MarketVector Indexes, Steven Schoenfield, predicts that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will approve a Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) within the next three to six months. He expressed his estimate during a panel discussion on ETFs at CCData’s Digital Asset Summit in London, where he was joined by Martin Bednall, the CEO of Jacobi Asset Management and another ex-BlackRock director.
Schoenfield’s prediction was in response to Bednall’s comments about the SEC possibly approving all ETF applications simultaneously to avoid giving any applicant a competitive advantage. Previously, Schoenfield had estimated that it would take nine to twelve months for the industry to receive ETF approval. However, the SEC’s recent decision to delay verdicts on various pending ETF applications indicates a change in the regulator’s approach.
Rather than rejecting the applications outright, the SEC has requested comments, which Schoenfield considers as a marginal but significant improvement in the dialogue. He also pointed out the Grayscale lawsuit, which the SEC lost, suggesting that the regulator will likely allow the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust to convert into an ETF.
Speculation surrounds BlackRock, the top asset manager in traditional finance with $9.42 trillion in assets-under-management (AUM), as the most likely contender for a Bitcoin spot ETF approval. BlackRock has an impressive history of achieving SEC approval for its ETFs, boasting a winning score of 575-1.
This may come as a surprise to many, considering BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s comments back in 2017 when he referred to Bitcoin as an “index of money laundering.” However, Fink’s perspective seems to have evolved since then. In a recent appearance on FOX News, he stated that crypto is “digitizing gold in many ways.”
During the panel discussion, Bednall expressed his belief that BlackRock’s brand and resources would give them a first-mover advantage if the SEC begins approving Bitcoin spot ETFs. However, Schoenfield was more cautious in his assessment of their former company’s entry into crypto. He emphasized that there are several other firms deeply committed to tradable digital assets, some of which are even closer to the crypto ecosystem than BlackRock. He anticipates that BlackRock will face tough competition in the space.
Schoenfield’s company has conducted calculations that suggest the approval of a Bitcoin spot ETF could result in a $150 to $200 billion inflow into Bitcoin investment products over three years. This influx of capital could double or triple the amount of AUM in current Bitcoin products.
Overall, the speculation surrounding a Bitcoin spot ETF approval by the SEC continues to grow. Market experts like Schoenfield and Bednall have differing opinions on the potential outcome, but it is evident that there is significant interest and anticipation within the industry. Investors and enthusiasts alike will be closely watching the developments in the coming months as the SEC scrutinizes the applications.