Bitcoin ETF applicant VanEck has pledged to donate 5% of its fund’s profits to Bitcoin Core developers, pending approval to launch by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The commitment could serve as a major lifeline for developers of the first crypto network, who are known to suffer a dearth of funding or financial incentive for their work.
VanEck’s Bitcoin Promise
VanEck has been an active ETF and mutual fund manager since 1955, holding $76.4 billion in assets under management as of September 2023.
“We’re not Bitcoin tourists at VanEck. We’re in it for the long haul,” wrote VanEck to X on Friday, adding that its pledge has already included a $10,000 donation to developers.
“Your tireless dedication to decentralization and innovation is the cornerstone of the Bitcoin ecosystem, and we’re here to support it.” the firm added.
VanEck’s donations will move through Brink, a non-profit that bridges donor money to Bitcoin code testers and maintainers.
Brink’s fellowship and grant partners include major crypto exchanges like BitMEX, Kraken, and Coinbase. The largest pledge to date is from #startsmall – a philanthropic initiative launched by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey – which is currently disbursing $5 million to devs over a five year period.
Unlike other networks, Bitcoin has no natural source of funding or protocol maintenance since its growth was never funded by an initial coin offering (ICO) or dedicated foundation.
Over the past several years, multiple maintainers – those who review proposals to change Bitcoin’s code, called “commits” – have stepped down from their positions. They’ve also suffered legal pressure from the likes of Craig Wright, who claims to be Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
Doing The Math On VanEck’s Pledge
Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart has predicted that Bitcoin ETFs will collectively absorb $10 billion worth of inflows within their first year of approval, which is expected within days.
Assuming VanEck were to absorb 10% of market share against its flurry of competitors, that would mean its fund takes in $1 billion worth of BTC within a year.
The fund hasn’t revealed its sponsor fee yet, but if it charged a 0.8% fee like what rivals Ark/21Shares and Valkyrie are aiming for, that would create $8 million in profit for the fund per year after year one.
At a 5% donation rate, that means Bitcoin developers could enjoy $400,000 worth of donations for ten years. This doesn’t factor in growth in value of the fund’s BTC over the course of many years, which some analysts believe could reach $200,000 per coin by 2025.
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