Kevin O'Leary Predicts 18-Month Delay for US Spot Bitcoin ETF

Kevin O’Leary, a prominent investor from “Shark Tank” and the chairman of O’Leary Ventures, recently shared insights on the timeline for the approval of a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Kevin O’Leary, also known as “Mr. Wonderful,” is a prominent Canadian entrepreneur, author, and television personality, widely recognized for his role as an investor on the reality TV show “Shark Tank.” Born on 9 July 1954 in Montreal, Quebec, he co-founded SoftKey, a software company that became a major player in educational software. After SoftKey acquired The Learning Company, which was then sold to Mattel, O’Leary gained significant financial success.

Known for his direct and often blunt commentary, O’Leary has built a reputation for focusing on profitability and investment returns. His business ventures span various industries, and he has authored books sharing his business insights. O’Leary also briefly ventured into Canadian politics, running for the leadership of the Conservative Party in 2017 before withdrawing. His public persona is marked by his sharp wit and straightforward approach to business and investing.

According to a report by Kevin Helms for News, speaking at the Benzinga Fintech Deal Day & Awards, O’Leary suggested that the approval could be more than 18 months away, emphasizing the need for a compliant crypto exchange for this to happen.

O’Leary stressed the importance of regulatory clarity and compliance for the SEC to greenlight a spot Bitcoin ETF. He pointed out that the SEC requires a transparent and compliant crypto exchange to verify the spot market pricing daily. According to O’Leary, the absence of such an exchange is a significant barrier to the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF.

He mentioned Coinbase, a Nasdaq-listed cryptocurrency exchange, as a leading candidate for achieving compliance. However, Coinbase is currently embroiled in litigation with the SEC, which has charged it with operating as an unregistered securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency.

O’Leary highlighted two major hurdles for institutional investment in Bitcoin: SEC compliance and the 24/7 trading nature of Bitcoin. He explained that the continuous trading of Bitcoin presents challenges for institutional investors who typically limit their exposure to any one asset class to 5%. Unlike stocks, which can be rebalanced daily due to market closure, Bitcoin’s round-the-clock trading complicates this process.

Despite these challenges, O’Leary revealed that major institutions and organizations are ready to invest in Bitcoin, valuing its liquidity and status as a storage of wealth. He noted that these institutions are less interested in the broader array of cryptocurrencies, focusing instead on Bitcoin.

With SEC Chairman Gary Gensler set to remain in his position for another 18 months, O’Leary anticipates that the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF could align with the end of Gensler’s current term.

O’Leary concluded by emphasizing the significant impact that SEC approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF would have on Bitcoin demand. He echoed the sentiments of Microstrategy Chairman Michael Saylor, who expects Bitcoin demand to double following the halving and the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs.

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