SEC Delays Decision On Opening Options Trading For Spot Bitcoin ETFs

Here are some of the major developments in the world of crypto over the past few days.
Some of the major developments from the world of crypto.
Some of the major developments from the world of crypto.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has postponed its decision on whether to approve options trading on spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), pushing the deadline to April 24. This delay affects bids from Cboe Exchange, the Miami International Securities Exchange, and Nasdaq, and could potentially pave the way for increased institutional investment in Bitcoin. The SEC's extension, granted in response to filings made on January 25 to list Bitcoin ETF options, allows the agency more time to evaluate the requests, as mandated by U.S. securities laws.

Options trading on spot Bitcoin ETFs would enable traders to speculate on Bitcoin's price movements without owning the cryptocurrency itself. If approved, traders could purchase "call options" at a premium, agreeing to buy 1 BTC at today's price in the future. This development is viewed positively by market participants, with Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein advocating for the approval of Bitcoin ETF options, asserting that they would enhance market robustness. Analysts also anticipate increased participation from hedge fund players once Bitcoin ETF options markets are operational, offering new opportunities for investors not directly involved in the crypto ecosystem.

The SEC previously approved 10 spot Bitcoin ETFs for trading on January 11, following months of delays. These ETFs, excluding Grayscale's which was converted into an ETF, amassed $25.87 billion in assets under management, according to BitMEX Research data from March 6. Currently, the SEC is deliberating on seven spot Ether ETFs, with analysts suggesting a potential decision on May 23, the deadline for VanEck's application. Additionally, the SEC is reviewing multiple leveraged Bitcoin ETFs, including filings from asset manager Direxion, ProShares, and REX Shares, indicating a growing interest in cryptocurrency investment products among traditional financial institutions.

Decentralized Lending Platform Lava Launches to Enhance Liquidity Across Blockchains

Lava, a decentralized lending market platform, has recently launched with the goal of optimizing liquidity across various blockchain networks. The platform's infrastructure is designed to address impermanent loss, a significant challenge faced by liquidity providers in decentralized exchanges. Impermanent loss occurs when the price of a token changes after being deposited in a liquidity pool-based automated market maker. This issue has been a deterrent for institutional investors looking to participate in decentralized finance (DeFi) due to its impact on market efficiency.

According to John Lo, managing partner of digital assets at Recharge Capital, mitigating impermanent loss could revolutionize DeFi by democratizing market-making processes. He believes that by addressing this challenge, DeFi protocols can compete more effectively with traditional finance models. Lava aims to empower liquidity providers by enabling arbitrage across market maker rates through the collateralization and lending of liquidity positions, thus creating greater market depth in the crypto space.

Supported by Recharge Capital, Lava is positioned as the first platform to tackle impermanent loss in DeFi by facilitating arbitrage between DeFi and centralized finance protocols. The platform's multichain approach, currently available on Arbitrum and Base blockchains, signifies its commitment to expanding its services to other blockchains in the future.

BlackRock Plans to Acquire Spot Bitcoin ETFs for Its Global Allocation Fund

BlackRock, a leading global asset manager, is looking to purchase spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for its Global Allocation Fund (MALOX). This move is part of BlackRock's strategy to include physically backed Bitcoin exchange-traded products (ETPs) in its investment portfolio. The updated filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission indicates that MALOX may invest in BlackRock's own spot Bitcoin ETF, the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), as well as ETFs offered by other issuers. The fund will only consider Bitcoin ETPs that are listed and traded on national securities exchanges.

The BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, launched in 1989, aims to generate investment returns through a diversified portfolio of U.S. and foreign equity, debt, and money market securities. As of March 7, MALOX had $17.8 billion in assets under management. This move by BlackRock to invest in spot Bitcoin ETFs comes after the successful debut of its iShares Bitcoin Trust, which has seen significant growth in its Bitcoin holdings since its launch on January 11.

In addition to its interest in spot Bitcoin ETFs, BlackRock has also been actively pursuing a spot Ether ETF with U.S. regulators. In November 2023, BlackRock filed an application for its iShares Ethereum Trust. While the approval process for a spot ETH ETF remains uncertain, the increasing interest from institutional investors like BlackRock indicates a growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies in traditional finance.

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