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Crypto Expert Noelle Acheson on Impact of SEC’s Spot Bitcoin ETF Verdict

Noelle Acheson, a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency sector, appeared on CNBC on 5 January 2024 to discuss the current state and future prospects of the crypto market, particularly focusing on the expected decision by the U.S. SEC on the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF, which has a deadline of January 10.

Acheson anticipates the approval of the first spot Bitcoin ETF, describing it as an “epic” development. She acknowledges that while it’s not a certainty, the SEC pulling back now would be a highly aggressive move. She considers the worst-case scenario to be the SEC cancelling both the spot and futures Bitcoin ETFs, but deems this highly unlikely.

She thinks that the most practical reason for any delay by the SEC could be due to not having reviewed all documents or internal discussions. However, Acheson believes the most efficient and politically safe move for the SEC would be to approve spot Bitcoin ETFs.

A recent survey by Bitwise highlighted that many advisors are still skeptical about ETF approval, but would be interested in allocating through an ETF if approved. Acheson emphasizes the need for more education in the space, noting that many advisors still view crypto as a scam or don’t understand it.

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She argues that the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF will elevate the level of education and mainstream acceptance of Bitcoin, especially when it’s associated with major financial names like BlackRock, Invesco, and Fidelity. Acheson suggests that the immediate impact of ETF approval might be overestimated, but the medium and long-term impacts, particularly in terms of education and mainstream acceptance, are likely underestimated.

She welcomes the return of volatility in the crypto market, noting its importance for liquidity and market recovery. Acheson points out that volatility is a feature, not a bug, in the crypto market, offering outsized returns and attracting liquidity.

Acheson observes that Bitcoin still leads the market, with Bitcoin dominance increasing since early 2023. She notes that Bitcoin is often the on-ramp for mainstream and crypto-native investors, but as the market becomes more comfortable with crypto risk, diversification into smaller tokens is likely.

She identifies several key narratives emerging around Bitcoin, including its role as a hedge against currency volatility, geopolitical instability, and its technological advancements. Acheson highlights the growing interest in Bitcoin’s utility beyond just a store of value, including developments in smart contracts and stablecoins on the Bitcoin network.

Discussing crypto stocks, Acheson notes their diversity and resilience. She uses Coinbase and CleanSpark as examples, highlighting how these companies are diversifying beyond their core businesses, reflecting a maturing market and presenting both risks and potential opportunities.

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