VanEck’s attempt to demonstrate demand for a Bitcoin ETF from institutional investors with a “limited Bitcoin ETF” has fallen flat.
Despite the investment management firm’s clever marketing when announcing the sale of its Bitcoin trust shares to “qualified institutional investors” last week, VanEck’s total net assets for its “limited Bitcoin ETF” sit at just over $40,000.
In other words, it’s got right around 4 BTC under management so far.
The results are particularly disappointing given the expectations that exist among the crypto faithful that a true-blue Bitcoin ETF will eventually be the institutional-investor-powered rocket that sends BTC to the moon.
Then again, this was never a real Bitcoin ETF, as critics of VanEck’s marketing ploy have previously pointed out. That proposed rule change, which would allow investors to buy into Bitcoin without having to really buy and hold actual bitcoins, has gone before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over and over again and been rejected every time.
And there just doesn’t seem to be much demand for anything less than the real thing, according to economist and trader Alex Kruger.
"This trust is just a bad launch of a product for which there's not much demand," he wrote on Twitter. Others, however, such as Fundstrat cofounder and Bitcoin bull Tom Lee, were more optimistic. “I think it is too early to judge the success of the product,” he said.
But, for now, those who have their hopes set on a Bitcoin ETF sending BTC soaring to new all-time highs will have to keep waiting—probably for a lot longer, despite recent comments from SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.
On Monday, Clayton was asked (yet again) about the prospect of a Bitcoin ETF from the SEC’s perspective, this time on CNBC. “Are we any closer” to a Bitcoin ETF? CNBC host Bob Pisani asked. “Yes, but there's work left to be done," Clayton responded.
The comments lit cryptoland abuzz with excitement, just like the last time the SEC said anything even mildly optimistic about the eventuality of a Bitcoin ETF. A more discerning few, however, such as former securities litigator Jake Chervinsky, were not impressed.
“To understand the language of DC, you have to read between the lines,” Chervinsky explained in a Twitter post. "Chairman Clayton's message here is: ‘someday a Bitcoin ETF will be approved, but that day ain't today.’ The manipulation issue still hasn't been resolved, and we don't even know where the SEC falls on custody."
In other words, it’ll probably be a while—if it ever happens at all.