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A surge in Bitcoin (BTC) prices today may be in response to increased speculation that an exchange-traded product could finally be approved in the coming weeks.
BTC prices are up 7% over the past 24 hours and have surged a whopping 32% over the past week, according to CoinGecko. This bullish price action for BTC only may be a form of front-running by big bag holders in anticipation of a futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) approval by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
On Thursday, Bloomberg senior analyst Eric Balchunas responded to an exclamation from founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital, Anthony Pompliano, stating, “Things are going to get insane” if an ETF is approved in Q4. Balchunas reaffirmed he was 75% certain approval was imminent.
“While we [are] confident Bitcoin futures ETFs will be approved very soon (like within two weeks) we [are] less confident they will be a huge hit like a physically backed ETF would be. Big step tho nonetheless.”
Given comments made by SEC Chair Gary Gensler, a futures product is likely to be approved first, which would allow institutional investors to gain exposure to BTC and bet on its future price without actually holding any. Balchunas stated that he does not think that a physically backed ETF would be approved any time soon but said it would eventually:
“At some point physical will happen. Timing just so unclear tho. Anyone’s guess. Prob months or years.”
He cited “multiple reasons both technical and anecdotal” for the two-week futures ETF approval prediction, adding that he was 75% confident.
Prominent analyst Alex Krüger also cited the ETF approval hype as being a driver of BTC price action at the moment:
This is what crypto markets are trading now. The dominant narrative is a bitcoin ETF. Dissapoint or not, can worry about that later. https://t.co/aIv3BFZqI4
— Alex Krüger (@krugermacro) October 6, 2021
He added, “By the time the SEC makes the announcement an ETF would be halfway priced in.” Mike Bucella, a general partner at crypto venture firm BlockTower Capital, also said he believes “folks are front-running a futures-based BTC ETF” after analyzing current market activity.
Related: Futures-based Bitcoin ETF has ‘75% chance of approval' in October
Matthew Dibb, co-founder and chief operating officer of Stack Funds, echoed the sentiment, commenting, “rumors of a BTC ETF decision later in the month is spurring further demand” before adding that this rally coincides with anticipation of the Proshares ETF approval on Oct. 18.
Whales have certainly been buying as observed by CryptoQuant CEO Ki Young Ju, who noted $1.6 billion in market orders in just a few minutes on Wednesday.
Someone(s) bought up $1.6B worth $BTC via market orders in just 5 minutes.
Short liquidations seem relatively smaller like $17M at that time.
This is more like whale buying, not cascade liquidations.https://t.co/dD3OsykiET pic.twitter.com/0NnvbmaYYm
— Ki Young Ju 주기영 (@ki_young_ju) October 6, 2021
In late September, Bloomberg Intelligence commodity strategist Mike McGlone predicted that the SEC would approve a BTC futures product “potentially by the end of October.”
On Tuesday, McGlone speculated that Bitcoin’s price resistance at $50,000 was about to flip to long-term support in the fourth quarter.