A single errant tweet on October 16th demonstrated just how tightly wound the cryptocurrency industry is around the prospect of a Bitcoin spot ETF in the US.
- Bitcoin’s price jumped from $27,900 to $30,000 after a false report circulated that the SEC had approved a spot Bitcoin ETF.
- The report was posted on Twitter and sparked enough engagement to significantly impact prices before being deleted 30 minutes later.
- Nearly $100 million worth of leveraged positions were liquidated during the price swing – $72 million in shorts and $31 million in longs.
- The SEC website showed no actual ETF approvals. BlackRock confirmed its application is still under review.
- This volatility highlights traders’ anticipation and hopes for a spot Bitcoin ETF, which the SEC has not yet approved.
- The SEC recently declined to appeal its court loss against Grayscale, seen as a positive step for Grayscale converting its Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) to an ETF.
- There are over 10 spot Bitcoin ETF applications pending currently. The participation of major firms like BlackRock and Invesco has raised optimism among analysts.
- However, the incident shows Bitcoin’s price remains susceptible to unverified information and rumors circulating online.
Within minutes of an account falsely claiming the SEC approved BlackRock’s spot Bitcoin ETF, prices erupted from around $28,000 to briefly touch $30,000. The move liquidated nearly $100 million in leveraged futures positions on exchanges like Binance.
We apologize for a tweet that led to the dissemination of inaccurate information regarding the Blackrock Bitcoin ETF.
An internal investigation is currently underway. We are committed to transparency and will share the findings of the investigation with the public once it is…
— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) October 16, 2023
But the report was completely bogus. BlackRock confirmed its application remains pending with the SEC. Once this became clear, the price quickly shed its gains, leaving chaos and losses in the tweet’s wake.
This is just the latest example of crypto’s susceptibility to unverified information spreading rapidly on social media. Earlier unsubstantiated rumors about Walmart accepting Litecoin and Apple buying Meta helped fuel market manias.
The intensity of the market’s reaction highlights the pent-up anticipation around a spot Bitcoin ETF. Futures-based offerings are available, but a fund directly holding Bitcoin is viewed as the holy grail for institutional adoption.
Grayscale’s court victory against the SEC in August was seen as a watershed moment. The judge ruled the agency acted “arbitrarily” in denying Grayscale’s application to convert its Bitcoin Trust to an ETF. When the SEC declined to appeal last week, approval hopes grew.
With stalwarts like BlackRock, Valkyrie and Galaxy Digital applying for spot Bitcoin ETFs, many believe the SEC will finally relent to industry pressure and growing bipartisan political support. The clamor for investor protections provided by regulated crypto funds continues to intensify.
But this episode was a reminder that SEC approval remains elusive. As Bitcoin matures as an asset class, its holders must exercise caution and avoid knee-jerk reactions to rumors circulating in social channels. The road to ETF approval may be long and volatile.