Bitcoin ETFs could incentivize adoption, study reveals
A recent survey has found that U.S. financial advisors would be keen to invest their clients’ money into cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs), hinting that should Bitcoin ETFs become easily available, widespread BTC adoption could follow, Cryptonews.com reports. “The findings come from “The 2020 Benchmark Survey of Financial Advisor Attitudes Toward Cryptoassets,” a study compiled by fund operator Bitwise and media outlet ETF Trends. The authors suggested that advisors were eagerly awaiting crypto ETFs: “Advisors would overwhelmingly prefer to buy crypto in an ETF package compared with all other options.”
According to the company that is unsuccessfully trying to launch its own Bitcoin ETF, these results were consistent with last year’s survey, although the percentage of advisors with a preference for an ETF somewhat increased year over year, up from 62% to 65%. Also, 37% of advisors stated that “the launch of a Bitcoin ETF” would be a key factor that would make them “more comfortable” with the idea of investing in Bitcoin. But first, they need better regulation, better custodial solutions, and better education.
However, some crypto industry players opined that waiting around for regulators to decide what to do about Bitcoin ETFs displays a possible lack of proactive impetus from advisors. The first concern preventing advisors from allocating to crypto is “regulatory concerns.” This was selected by 56% of advisors, up from 42% in 2019.”
What WEF said about Bitcoin
The World Economic Forum in Davos discussed also about cryptos, not only about environment. And it’s good news for bitcoiners, as the elite see a future where Bitcoin continues to thrive. Coindesk.com has reported some opinion expressed by experts attending the meeting.
“Bitcoin is a fantastic idea, as long as it is monitored,” Kohli said, praising the compliance standards already upheld by bitcoin-friendly Swiss banks.
Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, offers a shining example of a bitcoin-friendly politician. He said decentralized digital assets will have a role to play in the future of France, as long as organizations like the crypto custody startup Ledger and the bitcoin development startup ACINQ continue to pay taxes and uphold regular compliance standards. “We don’t want digital companies issuing their own currencies like sovereign states,” he said, making a subtle dig at Facebook’s Libra. “But we believe [bitcoin] can reduce the costs and delays of international payments. … We strongly believe in fintech.”
Likewise, Mariam Al Muhairi of the state-backed Dubai Future Foundation says her team will spend 2020 exploring how to support companies that want to use digital assets. “It’s to help regulate that area,” she said, emphasizing they are still in the research phase. “There are entities that do own and use [cryptocurrency].” Paredes added the best way to protect bitcoin’s usability is to educate regulators about specific use cases, so they can make laws and compliance standards without jeopardizing projects of value.
The divide between cypherpunks and banks grows ever more narrow when experts drill down to the specifics. Most crypto veterans at the WEF were just as enthusiastic about central bank digital currencies (CBDC) as the bankers themselves. For example, Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO of Aza Financial, said she’s “really excited” about the People’s Bank of China issuing a CBDC. She sees this as yet another customer onramp that complements the fact bitcoin makes up 7 percent of her company’s monthly volume.
MakerDAO Foundation CEO Rune Christensen agrees: “Generally I think it’s really good for the trend of digitizing the economy,” he said of the CBDC trend. “It’s just a step toward more blockchain adoption.” His project’s DAI stablecoin, he told CoinDesk, could one day be the liquidity backbone for the world’s CBDCs.”
Middle Eastern elite, Bitcoin and energy sector
Some Middle Eastern nations are already exploring the possibility of settling oil contracts in bitcoin, Coindesk.com reports, although it is difficult to say which ones.
At the WEF in Davos skepticism and optimisms met.”Fellow Egyptian investor Ahmed Heikal, CEO of Qalaa Holdings, said he’s not bullish on bitcoin because it “doesn’t have the legal framework” for such wholesale deals. If nations or energy enterprises are to use bitcoin, he argued, it won’t be for at least another decade.
Delegates from Oman to the UAE and Saudi Arabia all expressed similarly dismissive views about bitcoin as an asset, often referring to it as a gambling conduit. But when asked if it could still be used to settle oil contracts – especially considering the US aggressive economic pressure on energy exporters Iran and Iraq – one Omani politician teased, “It depends on who’s asking.”
U.S. sanctions are top-of-mind across the region, as when President Donald Trump urged Europe not to trade with “unfriendly” energy suppliers. Iraqi President Barham Salih pushed back with a speech on Wednesday that asserted it was Iraq’s sovereign right to have relations with neighbors on its own terms.
Saudi Arabian businessman Hamza Alkholi, CEO of Al-Kholi Group, dismissed the idea that bitcoin-denominated oil contracts could ever be more than an outlier.
“We’ve been trying for 30 years,” he said, referencing efforts to move beyond the U.S. dollar by settling oil contracts in euros. “Until bitcoin is regulated like the stock market, I don’t see that happening.”
Crescent Enterprises CEO Badr Jafar, who is heavily invested in the oil and gas industry, agreed there’s no urgency among most players in his industry to move away from the dollar. Leaders and businessmen still don’t “trust” cryptocurrency, Jafar said, and he expects central banks would push back if bitcoin gained more significant usage.
However, if oil contracts were to be settled in currencies beyond the dollar, Jafar said that might be driven by political factors related to Russia and China. And soon there will be a digital currency issuer eager to help dollar-weary energy suppliers find alternative settlement systems. Equally concerned about “trust,” China is hyper-focused on both compliance and global market opportunities.”