“Bitcoin’s meteoric rise continues as it surpasses $50,000 mark, fueling excitement and optimism for cryptocurrency investors worldwide.”
I don’t like crypto currencies. Never have. I am not a fan and don’t recommend (or own) volatile securities that are all “perceived value” and backed by nothing. Plus, it’s not easy to buy them, though that may be about to change.
When you buy a crypto currency you are putting your trust in an unregulated business (hello FTX), you’d better not forget your password, and you or your holding company better not get hacked. There is no FDIC or SIPC protection.
Alternatively, one can invest in a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) like ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO). But that fund invests in bitcoin futures contracts instead of bitcoin and rolling over futures contracts as they expire is expensive. As an example, the S&P 500 is where it was one year ago. But the ProShares Short S&P 500 (SH), which also uses futures contracts, has lost 8 percent over the same period. Shouldn’t it be unchanged as well?
Here’s the good news for those who own or want to buy bitcoin: The SEC may be close to approving bitcoin ETFs that will track the spot price instead of the futures price. Several ETF providers have already submitted applications. They include BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, Invesco, ARK, and others.
What will happen to bitcoin’s price if/when a spot bitcoin ETF is approved? With bitcoin rallying above $35,000 it is already getting priced in. But this could be early innings if bitcoin ETFs are approved.
Once there are spot bitcoin ETFs then any investor with a brokerage account can buy bitcoin just as they would a stock or an index fund. Many will choose to do so with a portion of their money. More demand means higher prices. Those that own bitcoin now will welcome the news.
It is ironic that cryptocurrencies began as a way to avoid large financial institutions and regulations, but soon enough the world’s largest financial companies, all of which are highly regulated, will dominate the bitcoin marketplace.
The introduction of spot bitcoin ETFs should boost prices as more people participate. Eventually, however, investors will realize that there is nothing but perceived value backing the holdings. It has no earnings and it pays no dividends. Those who buy simply hope to sell it later to someone at a higher price. That’s the Greater Fool Theory. Owning bitcoin as a trade based on potential new ETFs is fine. But long term you can count me out.
David Vomund is an Incline Village-based Independent Investment Advisor. Information is found at http://www.VomundInvestments.com or by calling 775-832-8555. Clients hold the positions mentioned in this article. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial advisor before purchasing any security.