Bitcoin ETF approval more likely under new SEC leadership, says Ark Invest CEO

Ark Investment Management founder and CEO Cathie Wood said the likelihood that U.S. regulators will approve a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund has gone up under the Biden administration.

In an interview with CNBC’s Bob Pisani today, Wood said there were two signs that the Securities and Exchange Commission might be more open to greenlighting a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund, or ETF. Under previous administrations, the regulatory body did not approve any Bitcoin ETFs, to the industry’s chagrin.

Specifically, the Ark Invest CEO said she was encouraged by Joe Biden’s pick for SEC chair, Gary Gensler. Gensler is known as someone who understands the underlying technology of digital assets and BTC itself. In addition, Wood saw FinHub leader Valerie Szczepanik, known as the “Crypto Czar,”  reporting directly to the next chair as a bullish sign.

“I think the probability of an ETF has gone up,” said Wood. “[Gensler] understands the technology, and I think he understands the currency itself. […] I think we have individuals now involved who really understand the space.”

Wood recognized that institutional interest in the crypto space has surged recently but said she did not expect it to be driven by “broad-based substitution of Bitcoin for cash on corporate balance sheets.” She said this widescale investment may happen slowly as the market matures, but she was encouraged by the examples already set by Square and Tesla. The payment company added 4,709 BTC to its balance sheet in October 2020, while the car manufacturer announced a $1.5-billion Bitcoin purchase earlier this month.

“If all corporations in the United States were to put 10% of their cash into Bitcoin, that alone would add $200,000 to the Bitcoin price,” she said.

Perhaps recognizing the potential opportunity in the new regulatory environment, some firms have already applied for a Bitcoin ETF with the SEC following Biden’s inauguration. Yesterday, New York Digital Investment Group filed the paperwork for a BTC exchange-traded fund, and on Jan. 22, Valkyrie Digital Assets proposed listing its Bitcoin trust on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bitcoin ETF approval more likely under new SEC leadership, says Ark Invest CEO

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