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Fidelity lobbies SEC to approve Bitcoin ETF in private meeting

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Multinational financial services firm Fidelity Investments has pressed the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to approve its Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

A private meeting was held on Sept. 8 among Fidelity Digital Assets president Tom Jessop, six of the firm’s executives and several SEC officials. The finance executives laid out a number of reasons why the regulator should approve the investment product. These include increased demand for digital assets and related products, the prevalence of similar funds in other countries, and the rise of Bitcoin (BTC) adoption.

A Fidelity presentation from the meeting outlining the benefits of a Bitcoin product stated that global developed market regulators have approved Bitcoin exchange-traded products (ETP) in Canada, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.

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In response to SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s comments last month on the possibility of reviewing only BTC futures products, Fidelity argued that strict adherence to either a 1933 law allowing stock exchanges to list the products or allowing futures only products was no longer necessary because the market has matured.

The Securities Act of 1933 was passed following the stock market crash of 1929 in order to protect investors by establishing laws against misrepresentation and fraudulent activities. Fidelity believes that these laws are too stringent and markets are now more transparent and established.

“We believe Bitcoin futures-based products are not a necessary interim step before a Bitcoin ETP; firms should be able to meet investor demand for direct exposure to Bitcoin […] through ETPs because the Bitcoin market has matured and can support them.”

It also argued that the market has already reached “significant size” and has deep liquidity as defined by the SEC’s own standards.

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Fidelity filed for a Bitcoin ETP called the Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust in March 2021, and more than 20 similar applications from other firms have been made since, yet the regulator continues to procrastinate.

The Bitwise Bitcoin Strategy ETF is the latest to be lodged in the SEC’s lengthening application queue following a filing on Tuesday.

Fidelity Digital Assets continues to expand its operations despite regulatory red tape. The firm plans to increase its crypto asset employee numbers by up to 70% by the end of the year according to Bloomberg.

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The SEC is doing things at its own lethargic pace, having postponed VanEck’s proposed Bitcoin Trust ETF for the third time this year on the same day as the meeting with Fidelity, delaying the decision date until Nov. 14.

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Bitcoin Price Flash Crashes for Second Time in a Month in the US

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The price of bitcoin (BTC) on Binance.US, the US-based exchange affiliated with Binance, briefly crashed to as low as USD 8,200 today – a drop of 87% – before recovering again. The crash marks the second time in a month when bitcoin prices in the US have briefly disconnected from the rest of the world. 

Today’s flash crash, which was one of the most significant on a major exchange in bitcoin’s history, all happened within less than 1 minute, the BTC/USD price chart from Binance.US showed. 

Although the flash crash was all over within a minute, the trading volume showed that a significant number of coins did change hands during the crash, indicating that some traders may have been able to fill orders for bitcoin at extremely low prices.

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BTC/USD on Binance.US. Source: TradingView

Flash crashes can happen when large market sell orders are sent to exchanges without sufficient liquidity on its order books, for instance, because a large trader accidentally placed the order as a market order instead of a limit order.

Today’s flash crash on Binance’s US exchange is the second such incident in a month in the US. On September 20, a data feed for crypto prices called Pyth that is used by some of the largest financial institutions on Wall Street showed a 90% crash in the price of bitcoin.

The feed briefly showed bitcoin at a price of USD 5,402. However, a similar price crash was nowhere else to be seen. Two days later, in a report about the incident, Pyth concluded that the abnormally low price was indeed a technical glitch, “caused by the combination of (1) two different Pyth publishers publishing a near-zero price for BTC/USD and (2) the aggregation logic overweighting these publishers’ contributions.”

Discussing today’s incident on Twitter, many traders complained about being forced by US regulations to use exchanges such as Binance.US, which has thin order books and low liquidity compared to the international version of the exchange.

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No statement has yet been made from Binance or Binance US regarding today’s flash crash.

At 16:11 UTC, BTC trades at USD 63,180 and is down by almost 6% in a day, trimming its weekly gains to 10%.

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Mt. Gox Bitcoin Payouts On Horizon After Creditors Approve Plan

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The light finally appears to be at the end of the tunnel for the Mt. Gox creditors, who have approved a plan that will let them choose to receive some of the coins they have been waiting years for.

In a translated letter, Nobuaki Kobayashi, the Japanese lawyer and trustee for the now-defunct bitcoin (BTC) exchange, explained that “approximately 99%” of the creditors had voted in favor of an offer that has since been put before a branch of the Tokyo District Court.

A voting process that began back in May this year wrapped up earlier this month.

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The court has since confirmed the order, although there was no mention of an exact timescale for the token refunds.

The trustee wrote that an announcement “will be made to rehabilitation creditors on the details of the specific timing, procedures and amount of such repayments.”

However, Kobayashi wrote that the process would “finalize” and become “binding” in “approximately one month from” October 20.

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The creditors will then be able to file their claims through a website, by filing a proof of rehabilitation claim.

Kobayashi wrote that the trustee “would like to express sincere gratitude to all involved parties for their understanding and support.”

The BTC exchange was once the world’s biggest, but spectacularly folded in 2014 following a spate of hacking attacks that saw raiders make off with thousands of BTC tokens.

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Creditors have been trying to recover their funds ever since, but have been locked in a protracted legal struggle that has rumbled on over the years.

The Fortress Investment Group has previously offered creditors some 80% of claims. But the trustee promised a higher figure, closer to about 90%. The tokens lost in the hacks will likely have to be written off, however, meaning that payouts are going to be a fraction of the original amounts held.

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JPMorgan: Inflation Hedge Narrative Propelled Bitcoin’s Price to ATH

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According to some JPMorgan analysts, bitcoin hit an ATH because people started investing in it as a better hedge against inflation than gold.

Strategists at the financial institution JPMorgan Chase & Co. argued that the reason behind BTC’s all-time high price is not the launch of the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF. Instead, concerns about the rising inflation made the digital asset an attractive investment option, and that led to its recent rally.

Gold Failed, BTC Prevailed

The moment, which many people in the cryptocurrency community have been waiting for, finally arrived on October 19th when the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy futures-backed ETF, named BITO, started trading on the New York Stock Exchange. It became the first such product approved in the United States.

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During the first day of its launch, it generated massive trading volumes and even became the second-highest traded fund ever. Shortly after, BTC’s USD value headed straight north towards a new all-time high at roughly $67,000.

Still, according to JPMorgan strategists, including the managing director Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, another factor drove bitcoin to that milestone. The specialists indicated that the cryptocurrency had replaced gold as a hedge against inflation in recent months, which had propelled the price north:

“By itself, the launch of BITO is unlikely to trigger a new phase of significantly more fresh capital entering bitcoin. Instead, we believe the perception of bitcoin as a better inflation hedge than gold is the main reason for the current upswing, triggering a shift away from gold ETFs into Bitcoin funds since September.”

JPMorgan’s team noted that the last couple of weeks were not that successful for the precious metal. Taking a look at a broader period, bitcoin ETF’s have significantly outpaced gold ones, as the strategists revealed:

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“This flow shift remains intact supporting a bullish outlook for Bitcoin into year-end.”

Bitcoin Funds vs. Gold ETFs: Source: JPMorgan
Bitcoin Funds vs. Gold ETFs Inflows: Source: JPMorgan

Can BTC Now Change The Stance of The Big Boss?

Jamie Dimon – Chief Executive Officer of JPMorgan – is among the most prominent critics of the leading digital asset. Still, it seems like he has started releasing the tight grip on it.

It all started in 2017 when the top executive called bitcoin a “fraud.” Dimon did not stop there and warned that “it’s worse than tulip bulbs. It won’t end well. Someone is going to get killed.” Shortly after, though, he regretted making that comment, and his financial institution became much more accepting of BTC.

Last year, Dimon weighed in on the matter once again. This time he was softer in his comments saying that bitcoin is not his “cup of tea” and that he has no personal interest in it.

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A few days ago, the CEO returned to his negative phase, describing BTC as “worthless.” Nevertheless, he acknowledged that most of JPMorgan’s clients do not share his opinion and show an increasing demand for digital asset services.

With BTC charting a new all-time high, the crypto community is yet to find out whether Dimon will maintain his hostile viewpoint on the matter or rather soften a bit and allow more offerings to his bitcoin-hungry customers.

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