The first bitcoin (BTC) futures-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), ProShares’ BITO, is reportedly already in danger of breaching a limit on the number of futures contracts it is allowed to hold under current Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) rules.
BITO already owns nearly 1,900 bitcoin futures contracts expiring in October, according to Bloomberg data. The number is close to CME’s current rule that a single entity cannot own more than 2,000 front-month futures contracts, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, when BITO had only been live for two full days.
To get around the limit, the ETF has reportedly started buying futures contracts expiring in November in addition to the October contracts it holds, with 1,400 November contracts amassed so far. At the current pace, however, the fund could also soon reach CME’s cap on holdings for next-month contracts of 5,000 contracts, per the report.
And while the CME has already said it will increase the limits to 4,000 front-month contracts starting in November, this is also likely to be reached soon by BITO, which already has more than USD 1bn under management.
A major issue faced by ProShares’ ETF is that futures contracts tend to trade at a higher premium over spot prices the further away their expiry date is – a phenomenon known as contango in the futures market.
As such, choosing to get around the maximum limits by buying longer-dated contracts will mean the ETF has to get its bitcoin exposure at prices that are increasingly higher than spot. This could result in high costs when contracts are rolled over at expiry that will eventually be paid by the ETFs investors in the form of lower returns.
According to Bloomberg’s own ETF expert, Eric Balchunas, some of the pressure on the first ETF to be launched could be alleviated by competing ETFs coming to the market over the next few days and weeks. However, the first-mover advantage that BITO has gotten will still be difficult to challenge, he said.
“The unprecedented early volume in BITO makes it like a snowball rolling downhill, as liquidity and assets begets more liquidity and assets,” Balchunas said, adding that it will be “nearly impossible” for other ETFs to steal significant volume from BITO in the short or medium-term.
Commenting on the possibility of the ETF running into the ceiling, some speculated that the extreme popularity of the futures ETF could eventually pressure the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow a “physically” backed spot bitcoin to launch.
That scenario was suggested by Zhu Su, CEO of crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, saying that it could lead to the ETF rising to a “hilarious premium,” leading the SEC to “approve a spot ETF because of public outrage.”
In a tweet, he also shared a comment from Max Boonen, Founder of electronic market maker B2C2, saying that it is “doubtful” that clearing houses will be comfortable with a single entity holding more than 4,000 front-month contracts.
“What happens when BITO surpasses 4k [contracts] as it surely will?”, Boonen asked.
So what if BITO halts creations bc hits CME OI limit, BITO spikes to hilarious prem, SEC rushes to approve spot ETF bc of public outrage, btc $1m, wyd https://t.co/1c5mRlg46j— Zhu Su 🔺 (@zhusu) October 21, 2021
A similar idea was also suggested by Eric Balchunas, saying in the Bloomberg report that BITO hitting the limits on how many futures contracts it is allowed to hold could pressure the SEC to allow a spot-based bitcoin ETF.
“That certainly would do the trick in slowing down BITO and providing a release valve for futures demand,” the senior ETF analyst said.
Meanwhile, the second bitcoin ETF to be approved by the SEC, the Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF with the ticker BTF, is scheduled to go live on the market today, October 22. BTF will also be backed by bitcoin futures contracts traded on the CME rather than by “physical” bitcoins.
BTF should go live on the Nasdaq exchange when the market opens at 09:30 ET (13:30 UTC).
Following the launch of Valkyrie’s fund today, a third bitcoin futures ETF, the VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF (XBTF), is set to go live on Monday on the Cboe BZX Exchange, according to a recent SEC filing.
Bitcoin Senator Rallies For Support Against Powell’s Renomination As Federal Reserve Chair, Here’s Why
Popular Bitcoin Senator, Senator Cynthia Lummis is reportedly soliciting for the support of her fellow Republicans in her stance against Jay Powell after the latter got renominated to chair the Federal Reserve.
Bitcoin Senator Wary of Crypto-unfriendly Nominees
As reported by Decrypt who first broke the news, a source in Lummis’ office says her reasons border on her belief that there is an unlawful treatment of crypto-based institutions in her home state, Wyoming.
Meanwhile, the Bitcoin senator is not only against the nomination of Powell. The source still claims that Senator Lummis is also asking her Republican colleagues to help block Leal Brainard’s nomination as well. Brainard is another nominee of President Biden’s for the Fed positions.
Lummis’ skepticism might be as a result of the Special Purpose Depository Institutions or SPDIs as they are otherwise called. They are a new type of crypto-based bank that Wyoming lawmakers granted a special operational license to, just last year.
Two crypto-based companies that received the license in 2020 include Kraken exchange and Avanti — the stablecoin issuer. However, the Federal Reserve’s decision to not approve their applications for central bank-issued accounts has placed a hold on their banking ambitions.
Speaking about the Federal Reserve’s delay in a Wall Street Journal feature article by Lummis on Wednesday, she says it is an intentional and unlawful obstruction. She added that the Fed’s reasons are ambiguous at best. According to the Bitcoin Senator, Lummis claimed that the Wyoming entities have met all requirements for being a bank under the Federal Reserve Act.
Lummis insists that Powell and Brainard are only avoiding their legal obligations in their continued treatment of SPDIs and like many other U.S lawmakers, she wants to know why.
Could Lummis’ Pressure Affect Powell’s Confirmation?
As Lummis continues to apply even more pressure on her colleagues, the possible extent to which this pressure can truly go in affecting the confirmation process of both Powell and Brainard, remains to be seen.
But with the chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Sherrod Brown, reportedly holding a vote on the pair sometime this month, both of them could be confirmed.
Also, there’s a possibility of a potential tight vote now that some progressive Democrats — most notably Elizabeth Warren — are saying they will not be voting for Powell.
PlanB’s Floor Model First Miss: Bitcoin Price Closed Way Below $98K In November
PlanB’s floor model was wrong about BTC’s November closing price. The stock-to-flow model, though, is still on track.
Bitcoin’s closing price for November below $60,000 meant that PlanB’s floor model, which was particularly accurate until now, was finally broken.
At the same time, though, the analyst confirmed that the more popular stock-to-flow model was still valid as BTC is on track towards $100,000.
PlanB’s Floor Model Fails
PlanB is among the most popular analysts in the cryptocurrency space, predominantly known for the Bitcoin stock-to-flow model, which he published in early 2019. However, he also posted another model, which he referred to as the “worst-case scenario,” in July this year.
Also known as the floor model, it’s based on technical aspects, such as the 200-day moving average, and saw BTC closing August at $47,000, September at $43,000, and October at $63,000.
The first two months were spot on. BTC closed in October at $61,000, which was still very near to the model’s predicted price, and PlanB said it was “good enough” for him.
However, November’s closing actual closing price of way below $60,000 was quite different from what the model envisioned – $98,000. As such, the analyst admitted that this was the model’s first miss after nailing the previous few months.
Floor model first miss (after nailing Aug,Sep,Oct). No model is perfect, but this is a big miss and the first in 10y! Outlier/black swan? I will give Floor model 1 more month.
S2F model unaffected and on track to $100K.
Watch out for trolls confusing Floor and S2F model! https://t.co/tj6SSwSzKR— PlanB (@100trillionUSD) December 1, 2021
S2F on Track
As mentioned above, the floor model works separately from the stock-to-flow model, which sees the stock as the size of existing reserves (or stockpiles) and the flow as the annual supply of new bitcoins to the market.
It’s actually even more bullish as the original version sees bitcoin tapping $100,000 by the end of the year. The upgraded stock-to-flow cross-asset model, which introduced different phases of bitcoin’s development, predicted a price tag of $288,000 until 2024.
Although bitcoin still struggles below $60,000 at the time of this writing, PlanB believes that the original S2F hasn’t been broken as the asset is on its way towards $100,000. If BTC is indeed to go into a six-digit price territory, it would have to increase its USD value by more than 66% in the next 30 days.
CashApp Added Bitcoin Taproot Support, Here’s Why It Is Important
CashApp now supports the updated version of Bitcoin
The widely known Cash App mobile payment service developed by Square, which is being used to transfer money with the usage of a mobile app, now fully supports the Bitcoin taproot update.
The mobile payments service is currently available in the U.S. and the U.K. but is still reporting 70 million annual transactions between users and generating $1.8 billion in gross profit.
The taproot upgrade was highly anticipated by the Bitcoin network and the cryptocurrency community in general. Previously, the update went into effect on Nov. 14, 2021, at block 709,632.
Previously, the announcement appeared on the app’s website that has described numerous benefits that users will experience after the implementation of the update. One of the main advantages is increased privacy and reduced transaction fees.
The two-week period has been chosen to confirm the functionality of the updated version of the currency. As for now, the update has been activated for all customers. Taproot-enabled wallets are now available for both receiving and sending.