Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Doesn’t Need An ETF to End 2019 Dramatically Higher

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While markets conditions have varied drastically month-to-month, the discussion pertaining to Bitcoin-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) is as apparent as ever. Many argue that the launch of such a product could catalyze a jaw-dropping rally, pushing BTC to where it was prior to 2018’s harrowing downturn.

Yet, a leading industry researcher claims that from his point of view, an investment vehicle of that caliber is unlikely to get a regulatory green light in 2019. However, he made it clear that cryptocurrencies can still perform well.

Bitcoin Price ETFs

Lee Adamant That Bitcoin ETF Won’t Launch In 2019

We may be just five weeks into 2019, but the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is already up to its ears in crypto ETF-related work. Just weeks ago, the governmental entity asked Reality Shares, a California-based cryptocurrency investment services firm, to pull its fund application, citing an array of regulations. But in somewhat of an about-face, the SEC went on to push two ETF proposals, from Bitwise & NYSE and CBOE, VanEck, and SolidX, to the Federal Register, meaning that it has 45 days to issue its first verdict on these investment products.

Although the act of pushing proposals to the Register could set a precedent for a denial, many optimists have argued that approval of a Bitcoin fund is inbound. Considering recent comments from Bitwise’s Hunter Horsley, Wall Street mainstay Ric Edelman, and two SEC commissioners themselves, Robert Jackson and Hester “Crypto Mom” Pierce, this could very well be the case.

However, in a recent interview at the Blockchain Economy Istanbul Summit, Tom Lee of Fundstrat Global Advisors claims that he doesn’t expect the SEC to issue its stamp of approval for an ETF in 2019. The industry commentator elaborated that even while BTC would really benefit from an ETF, the current environment doesn’t set a precedent for the approval of such a fund.

In spite of his foreboding comment, Lee, who heads research at the New York-based investment advisory outfit, noted that he believes that the Bitcoin price will end the year dramatically higher than $3,900 or current price levels.

Macro Factors To Aid Crypto Immensely Over 2019

If Lee isn’t expecting a U.S.-regulated ETF to catalyze a cryptocurrency rally, what does he expect to give Bitcoin a boost in 2019? Macro factors, that’s what.

During the aforementioned interview, Lee noted that stock markets rallying after December’s downturn is likely to be a positive catalyst for the flagship cryptocurrency, likely referring to the “risk-on” nature that BTC currently holds. The Fundstrat co-founder added that the weakening performance of the U.S. dollar could also be a “real tailwind” for Bitcoin, as USD’s status as a global reserve asset and a stable store of value could come under fire.

Funny enough, this isn’t the first time that Lee has touted this argument. Mere weeks ago, Blockonomi reported that Fundstrat released its “2019 Crypto Outlook” report, which cited approximately eight factors as to why BTC could see a solid year. Positive catalysts mentioned included the trend that USD is experiencing, potentially due to the build-up in governmental debt, along with Fundstrat’s strong sentiment that emerging markets, which tacitly includes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, could outperform traditional equities in 2019.

In his appearance in the Instanbul interview, Lee even drew attention to JP Morgan’s blockchain venture, the already infamous, centralized JPM Coin, claiming that it’s bullish because it cements crypto’s credibility in a real-world setting. The American investor noted that this verifies that digital currency, even one that is centralized, has a value outside of speculation, echoing comments made by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper just last week.

But will this, along with the other developments that Lee mentioned, push BTC drastically higher by year’s end? For now, no one is all too sure.


I am a writer who has been following the cryptocurrency space since 2013. My insights and interviews have been featured in leading publications in the industry such as LongHash, NewsBTC, and Decrypt. When I am not writing, I work as a team member of the EXODUS division of HTC, a Taiwanese electronics company. I own a small amount of Bitcoin. Contact NickC@blockonomi.com

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