The proposed Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF (NASDAQ:COIN) is one of the most widely anticipated ETFs of all time, but according to the betting odds, it only has a slightly better than 3-to-1 chance of getting approved by regulators.
Believe it or not, you can actually bet on whether the ETF will be approved or not. The BitMEX platform, which offers bettors the chance to place real-world bets using the popular cryptocurrency, has contract odds that imply just a 36.37% chance that the proposal will be successful.
The battle between the Winklevoss twins and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has topped three years now. During that span, their proposal for the Bitcoin-tied ETF has been updated “about a dozen times” according to Bloomberg.
In that timeframe, Bitcoin’s price has surged amid very volatile trading. BTC was trading as low as $200 back in mid-2015. As of Tuesday morning, it’s over $1,110.
So, what’s holding regulators back? It’s not volatility so much as security:
The case for denial of the product rests primarily in the history of security breaches this asset class has suffered, most infamously the Mt. Gox debacle. More recently, hackers helped themselves to about $65 million worth of the virtual currency in August 2016.
If regulators do approve the fund, it’ll immediately legitimize the cryptocurrency and make it available as an investment to an entire new class of mom-and-pop investors. Up until now, it’s been a somewhat convoluted process to either “mine” Bitcoins using sophisticated computer software or to purchase and store them only. That’s relegated Bitcoin mostly to risk-tolerant investors and computer-savvy users.
The SEC will make its determination on the first-ever listed Bitcoin ETF on March 11. Until then, you can place your bets.