After a promising run through July that saw the Bitcoin index recover from a sub-$6,000 low to just under $8,400 at the end of the month, the cryptocurrency‘s price index is on its way down again. On Wednesday, as Bitcoin tumbles below $6500, its coin market cap also reached a new 2018 low, dropping to $229 billion. And Bitcoin isn’t alone. Virtually every alternative cryptocurrency is in the red today.
Investors Point To Delayed SEC Decision as Bitcoin Tumbles Below $6500
It can often be challenging to track all the factors that cause the dramatic fluctuations in cryptocurrency valuations. But this time, the reason is crystal clear.
Just before the Bitcoin index began its precipitous fall, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it was delaying a critical decision affecting crypto markets. That decision was whether or not to approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).
The SEC had planned to decide on approving the crypto ETF this week but announced the delay today. Now, the SEC won’t weigh in on the matter until September 30. And that uncertainty is what prompted crypto prices to fall so drastically today.
In fact, Bitcoin experienced a 7.65 percent drop in price in the 24 hours immediately following the SEC’s announcement. As a result, many are speculating that Bitcoin’s July recovery was due to anticipation over the SEC’s decision. If the Commission had approved Bitcoin ETFs, prices might have continued to climb.
As it stands, this year’s new low is renewing anxieties and uncertainty over the fate of the crypto market this year. Indeed, Bitcoin wasn’t the only currency hit hard by news of the SEC delay. The other top 10 cryptos saw percentage drops higher than Bitcoin.
Investment Firms Struggle To Get SEC Approval for Crypto ETFs
The SEC’s decision to postpone a decision on a Bitcoin ETF marks the just the latest time the commission has considered them. But all previous attempts to get a Bitcoin ETF approved ended with a rejection from the SEC.
And investment firm VanEck has been behind three of them. Earlier this year, VanEck partnered with the financial service company Solid X. Their goal was to launch a bitcoin-backed ETF rather than one backed by futures.
ETFs or exchange-traded funds are essentially bundled securities you can buy or sell on a stock exchange. They exist in nearly every asset class, including traditional investments and alternative assets like currencies or commodities.
In the realm of crypto, ETFs would enable investors to invest in cryptocurrency markets more safely. Rather than buying bitcoin on a crypto-asset exchange, ETFs allow investors to purchase the financial product without buying the underlying asset.
Alternative cryptocurrency exchanges have also tried to get the SEC to approve ETFs. But they’ve all been rejected. The most recent was an application from Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who founded the crypto exchange Gemini.
Given the struggles investment firms are having to get SEC approval for crypto-backed ETFs, it seems prices won’t rise again until they do. As Bitcoin tumbles below $6500 and its market cap reaches a new low, ETF approval is looking more and more like a necessity.