On April 1, Cathie Wood's ARK Invest became the latest applicant to get denied by the SEC for a Bitcoin spot ETF. The ETF would have traded on the Cboe in partnership with 21Shares and Coinbase, and the parties first submitted their application last June—so it took nearly a year to get a response, and the response was a No.
What will ARK do next?
"We will reapply," said Wood on stage at the FTX/SALT Crypto Bahamas conference on Wednesday.
Wood continued: "I find it fascinating they have approved the Bitcoin futures, and not the underlying. It just doesn't make sense to me, especially considering the fees associated with that kind of ETF."
Indeed, in October the Securities and Exchange Commission finally approved the first Bitcoin ETF (exchange-traded fund) from ProShares, but it's a product pegged to Bitcoin futures contracts rather than the current price of Bitcoin.
An ETF bundles securities and commodities like stocks that can be bought and sold on the open market; many in the crypto industry think a Bitcoin "spot" ETF will bring in a flood of retail investors who are looking to get exposure to crypto, but are too intimidated to buy it themselves from a crypto exchange.
The SEC's approval of a futures ETF was nonetheless greeted as a watershed moment for the crypto market's maturation, and the SEC has allowed additional Bitcoin futures ETFs since then; it allowed the fourth earlier this month.
Wood wasn't willing to make a prediction on when the SEC and current chair Gary Gensler might finally allow a spot ETF, but her co-panelist at the Crypto Bahamas event, Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz, was.
"I do think we'll have a [spot] Bitcoin ETF this year or sometime next year," Novogratz said. He added that eventually, Gensler will allow one "because he has to."
Wood also sounded off on the news this week that Fidelity will allow customers to hold Bitcoin in their 401(k) retirement accounts. "I think it's a huge competitive advantage for Fidelity," Wood said. "I remember with my IRA I was trying to get it transferred to Bitcoin just through GBTC, and nope, nope, no one wanted to do it."
While Novogratz was more bullish on a spot ETF approval than Wood, Wood was the mega-bull when it comes to Bitcoin's price, reaffirming her firm's $1 million price target for BTC by 2030. She cited as her reasons the belief that Bitcoin will "usurp 50% of gold's role," Bitcoin will become the norm for remittances, and institutions will allocate 2.5% into Bitcoin. Novogratz, on the other hand, said he's more comfortable with predicting $500,000 by 2030.