Bitcoin ETF launch may ‘let down’ but could attract trillions over time

The launch of spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) won’t likely have much impact on Bitcoin, but could eventually bring in trillions of dollars to the cryptocurrency, according to VanEck adviser Gabor Gurbacs. 

In a Jan. 1 post to X (formerly Twitter), Gurbacs argued the “initial impact” of a Bitcoin ETF is being drastically overestimated — estimating it may only see net inflows of around $100 million from “mostly recycled” money from large institutional investors upon launch.

However, Gurbacs was far more bullish about the ETFs’ impact on Bitcoin over the long term, pointing to the gold price appreciation that came after the launch of gold ETFs.

On November 18, 2004, global investment advisory firm State Street launched the first gold ETF. Gurbacs explained that in the eight years following the launch, the price of gold more than quadrupled from $400 to $1,800. This outsized appreciation saw the total market cap of gold grow from $2 trillion to $10 trillion within the same time frame.

Bitcoin commands a market cap of $834 billion today, approximately 41% of the market capitalization of gold in 2004.

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Gurbacs believes that following the widely expected approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF in the United States, Bitcoin’s price trajectory could well follow in gold’s footsteps, but added it would likely occur “much faster” due to its capped supply and scarcity-increasing events like the halving.

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He added that one of the most crucial benefits of a spot Bitcoin ETF comes from its ability to legitimize and destigmatize Bitcoin in the eyes of institutional investors and nation-states.

Bloomberg ETF analysts Eric Balchunas and James Seyffart agreed with Gurbacs.

Seyffart agreed that while many are laser-focused on the short-term data points like day-one inflows into the ETF, they’re not fully appreciating the long-term impact of such a product.

Bitcoin is currently changing hands for $42,525, up 1.1% in the last 24 hours, per TradingView data. Many market commetnators

While some argue the expected approval will create a significant and long-lasting uptick in price immediately following the approval, others argue that the approval is a “sell the news” event. 

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