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Former BlackRock Exec Predicts Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval by April 2024

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Former BlackRock managing director Steven Schoenfield, who now serves as the CEO of MarketVector Indexes, predicts that the U.S. SEC will approve a Spot Bitcoin ETF within three to six months.

Schoenfield shared this estimate during a panel discussion on ETFs at CCData’s Digital Asset Summit in London, where he was joined by another ex-BlackRock director, Martin Bednall, now CEO of Jacobi Asset Management.

SEC’s ETF Approval Could Come Sooner

Schoenfield’s response came after Bednall’s earlier comment that the SEC will probably approve all ETF applications simultaneously and doesn’t want to give anybody first mover advantage. Previously, the MarketVector CEO had estimated approval would take nine to twelve months.

Still, he noted that the SEC’s recent decision to delay verdicts on several pending ETF applications deviates from their previous tactics.

Schoenfield noted that instead of rejecting the whole list, they’ve asked for comments, which is a marginal but significant improvement in the dialogue. There’s also the Grayscale lawsuit, which the SEC lost, which means they will most likely have to allow the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust to be converted into an ETF.

BlackRock, a financial powerhouse managing $9.42 trillion in assets, is in a strong position to secure approval for a spot Bitcoin ETF through its pending application. That is underscored by BlackRock’s remarkable track record of getting ETFs approved by the SEC, with a success rate of 575-1.

The transformation in BlackRock’s stance on cryptocurrencies is noteworthy, as CEO Larry Fink, who once criticized Bitcoin, now acknowledges its potential as a digital alternative to gold.

BlackRock May Face Significant Competition

During a panel discussion, Martin Bednall expressed confidence in BlackRock’s ability to leverage its brand strength and resources, potentially giving it a first-mover advantage if the SEC begins approving spot Bitcoin ETFs.

Schoenfield noted that his company has conducted analyses suggesting that approving spot ETFs could lead to an inflow of $150 to $200 billion into Bitcoin investment products over three years. This influx of capital could potentially double or even triple the current assets under management (AUM) in Bitcoin products.

However, Schoenfield offered a more measured perspective to Bednall’s suggestion. He emphasized that while BlackRock may strive to dominate the market, several other firms are deeply committed to tradable digital assets, some of which have closer ties to the crypto ecosystem. He anticipates that BlackRock may face significant competition in this space.

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