Crypto Headlines of the Week: Spot Bitcoin ETFs and SEC vs. Coinbase

The repercussions of spot Bitcoin ETFs have again dominated the crypto market this week. While the US approved eleven ETFs tracking the world’s largest cryptocurrency last week, Asian countries have decided to take a different approach. 

Singapore and Thailand are not approving spot Bitcoin funds anytime soon, citing volatility and the speculative nature of cryptocurrencies.

Both countries also urged caution for investors about investing in spot Bitcoin ETFs.

Still, crypto-linked funds in the US continued to attract investors. In just three days, spot Bitcoin ETFs achieved a cumulative trading volume of nearly $10 billion.

However, let’s not lose sight of other headlines. From a judge again questioning the SEC’s “broad” reach and the US losing a crypto-friendly presidential candidate, the discussion about how we deal with blockchain and the digital currencies it allows marches on.

Here are the major crypto stories of the week:

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Key Takeaways

  • The narrative around spot Bitcoin ETFs continues to impact the cryptocurrency market.
  • In the US, crypto-linked funds have drawn significant interest from investors, with spot Bitcoin ETFs reaching a cumulative trading volume of nearly $10 billion within just three days.
  • Meanwhile, a judge again questions the SEC’s oversight of crypto-related industries.

Singapore and Thailand Keep Spot Bitcoin ETFs ‘at Arm’s Length’

Financial regulators in Singapore and Thailand have refused to approve spot Bitcoin funds.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has said that trading in cryptocurrencies is “highly volatile and speculative in nature” and therefore unsuitable for retail investors, while Thai regulators say they had no plans to allow the product “for the time being.” 

Singapore and Thailand keep bitcoin ETFs at arm’s length (Nikkei)

Spot Bitcoin ETFs See $10B in Trading Volume in First Three Days

Spot Bitcoin ETFs achieved a cumulative trading volume of more than $10 billion within just three days. 

Bloomberg Intelligence ETF analyst Eric Balchunas put it best:

Spot Bitcoin ETF Trading Volume Exceeds $10bn (MarketsMedia)

GBTC Sees Outflows Totaling $579M in First Trading Days

Money comes in, money goes out… Investors also pulled out over half of a billion dollars from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust during its first days of trading as an ETF.

The fund, which won SEC approval to convert to an ETF from a trust last week, has seen outflows totaling about $579 million.

Traders Pull $579 Million Out of Grayscale Bitcoin ETF (Bloomberg)

Judge Questions SEC’s Authority Over Coinbase

A federal judge on Wednesday questioned whether allowing the SEC to impose its regulations on Coinbase would give the agency sway over markets it doesn’t have authority to supervise.

“I want to understand how your standard does not sweep in the collectible market or commodities,” US District Judge Katherine Polk Failla told Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawyers in the courtroom. “It is a real fear that I have that your argument is just sweeping too broadly.” 

Judge Questions SEC’s Claim to Regulate Coinbase (WSJ)

Bankrupt Core Scientific to Relist on Nasdaq After Reorganization

A US bankruptcy judge on Tuesday approved Core Scientific’s Chapter 11 restructuring, allowing the Bitcoin mining company to cut $400 million in debt and emerge from bankruptcy by the end of January. The Bitcoin miner is also set to relist its shares on the Nasdaq by the end of January 2024.

Bitcoin Miner Core Scientific to Emerge From Bankruptcy, Re-List Shares This Month (CoinDesk)

Crypto-Friendly Vivek Ramaswamy Suspends Campaign

Vivek Ramaswamy, who pledged to lay off most of the SEC and direct a path for digital assets policy if elected President, suspended his campaign for Republican leadership after a fourth-place finish in Iowa.

“I’m going to appear with Donald Trump at a rally in New Hampshire to lay out what I see and what we see for the future of the country,” he said, endorsing the former president. 

Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his 2024 Republican presidential bid and endorses rival Donald Trump (AP News)

Venezuela Ends Petro Cryptocurrency

Venezuela has announced that it is ending its Petro cryptocurrency, more than five years after it was first launched.

President Nicolas Maduro launched the Petro (PTR) in February 2018 to support the nation’s currency, the bolívar, in the face of an economic crisis exacerbated by US sanctions.

Petro cryptocurrency era ends in Venezuela (Forkast)

VanEck Closes Bitcoin Futures ETF

VanEck is closing its Bitcoin futures ETF, barely a week after the launch of its spot Bitcoin ETF and following millions in outflows in the runup to the launch of the spot fund.

The VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF (XBTF) will stop trading on Jan. 30, according to a company press release.  

VanEck Announces Changes to ETF Product Line (Business Wire)

Leveraged Spot Bitcoin ETFs Might Be Next

With the first wave of spot Bitcoin ETFs on the market, issuers’ next round with regulators will involve strategies designed for the most aggressive traders.

There have been at least a dozen filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for ETFs that offer short and leveraged long exposure to spot bitcoin ETFs.

Leveraged Spot Bitcoin ETFs Loom (ETF.com)

The Bottom Line

While the narrative around spot Bitcoin ETFs continues to dominate the cryptocurrency market, regulation matters continue in the background.

Will the US become crypto-friendly? Will TradFi in other countries see the appeal of Bitcoin? Will experiments around national digital currencies keep emerging?

Join us each week as we unravel the future.

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Ruholamin Haqshanas

Ruholamin Haqshanas is a cryptocurrency and financial journalist with over three years of experience in the field. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechatronics and has a strong interest in FinTech. He started as a freelance technology writer, but moved into cryptocurrency as he delved deeper into the industry in 2019. Ruholamin has been featured in several financial and crypto news outlets, including Cryptonews, Investing.com, 24/7 Wall St, The Tokenist, Business2Community, ZyCrypto, EthereumPrice.org, Milk Road to name a few. Ruholamin has also worked on major crypto and DeFi projects as a content producer, including Midas Investments, BullPerks/GamesPad and Equalizer Finance.