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Speculations over Binance’s US Exit
Industry experts believe Binance’s $4.3 billion settlement with the US has cleared the way for the country’s securities regulator to approve spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The agreement required Binance to agree to the Justice Department and Treasury compliance monitors for up to five years.
In addition, the crypto giant must grant the agency broad authority to ensure that the exchange follows anti-money laundering and sanctions rules. When denying spot Bitcoin ETF applications, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has often cited fears of market manipulation.
According to Travis Kling, Ikigai Asset Management’s investment executive, Binance’s market dominance had to be eroded before the US regulator could consider approving the BTC ETF application. In a June 2023 post on his X handle, he stated that if the SEC approved a Bitcoin spot ETF, Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, would either cease to exist or experience a significant reduction in its role in price discovery.
Crypto Community Reacts
Kling’s probing statement sparked speculation about the extent to which BlackRock has aligned with the United States government to gain a helpful foothold in the upcoming spot Bitcoin ETF landscape. Thus, Colin Talks Crypto, a prominent YouTuber, questioned the timing of Binance’s settlement and exit from the US market, claiming that its proximity to the impending Bitcoin ETF debut raises concerns.
The YouTuber questions whether this could be BlackRock’s strategy to accumulate significant BTC at lower costs. The influencer further wondered whether this is a move by asset management firms to eliminate competition from US markets just before launching their ETFs.
Observers also highlighted BlackRock and its competitor Vanguard’s significant ownership stakes in the US-based Coinbase, Binance’s principal rival. They speculate that the crackdown on the exchange was premeditated because of BlackRock and Vanguard’s considerable ownership stakes in Coinbase.
The involvement of institutional behemoths such as BlackRock and Vanguard with key players in the crypto space has heightened interest in Bitcoin spot ETF approval, prompting the community to delve deeper into the motivations behind recent market events.
Playing the Waiting Game
Earlier this week, the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, reportedly submitted a proposal to the SEC outlining how it could use an in-kind or in-cash redemption model for its spot Bitcoin ETF, the iShares Bitcoin Trust. On the same day, Grayscale, a cryptocurrency asset manager, met with the securities regulator to discuss its bid to list a spot BTC ETF.
Other firms like Bitwise, Fidelity, Invesco Galaxy WisdomTree, Valkyrie, and VanEck await SEC approval for their spot Bitcoin products. Meanwhile, the CEO of Galaxy Digital, Mike Novogratz, is upbeat about the cryptocurrency market, claiming that the recent Binance deal is bullish for the industry.
In the past, the SEC has hesitated to approve Bitcoin ETFs, citing concerns about market manipulation and investor protection. The recent settlement between Binance, the DoJ, and CFTC may signal a shift in the regulatory landscape.
By agreeing to a financial settlement with Binance, some industry observers believe that regulators are becoming more at ease with the cryptocurrency industry and its activities. Approving a Bitcoin ETF would represent a significant step forward for the industry because it would allow investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin without buying it directly.
It would also lend legitimacy to an industry that has been plagued by concerns about fraud, insider trading, and market manipulation. While the securities watchdog has yet to approve a Bitcoin ETF, recent meetings with BlackRock and Grayscale show that approval is imminent.
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