Price spike: Are whales front-running the approval of a Bitcoin futures ETF?

A surge in Bitcoin prices today may be in response to increased speculation that an exchange-traded product could finally be approved in the coming weeks.

BTC prices are up 7% over the past 24 hours and have surged a whopping 32% over the past week according to CoinGecko. This bullish price action for BTC only, may be a form of front-running by big bag holders in anticipation of a futures ETF approval by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

On Oct. 7, Bloomberg senior analyst Eric Balchunas responded to an exclamation from founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital, Anthony Pompliano, stating “things are going to get insane” if an ETF is approved in Q4. Balchunas reaffirmed he was 75% certain approval was imminent.

“While we [are] confident Bitcoin futures ETFs will be approved very soon (like within two weeks) we [are] less confident they will be a huge hit like a physically backed ETF would be. Big step tho nonetheless.”

Given comments made by SEC boss Gary Gensler, a futures product is likely to be approved first which allows institutional investors to gain exposure to BTC and bet on its future price without actually holding any. Balchunas stated that he does not think that a physically-backed ETF would be approved any time soon, but said it would eventually:

“At some point physical will happen. Timing just so unclear tho. Anyone’s guess. Prob months or years.”

He cited “multiple reasons both technical and anecdotal,” for the two-week futures ETF approval prediction, adding that he was 75% confident.

Prominent analyst Alex Krüger also cited the EFT approval hype as being a driver of BTC price action at the moment:

He added, “by the time the SEC makes the announcement an ETF would be halfway priced in.” General partner at crypto venture firm Blocktower, Mike Bucella, also said he believes “folks are front-running a futures-based BTC ETF” after analyzing current market activity.

Related: Futures-based Bitcoin ETF has ‘75% chance of approval’ in October

Matthew Dibb, co-founder, and chief operating officer of Stack Funds, echoed the sentiment commenting “rumors of a BTC ETF decision later in the month is spurring further demand,” before adding that this rally coincides with anticipation of the Proshares ETF approval on Oct. 18.

Whales have certainly been buying as observed by Crypto Quant CEO Ki Young Ju, who noted $1.6 billion in market orders in just a few minutes on Oct. 6.

In late September, Bloomberg Intelligence commodity strategist Mike McGlone predicted that the SEC would approve a BTC futures product “potentially by the end of October.”

On Oct. 5 McGlone speculated that Bitcoin price resistance at $50K was about to flip to long-term support in the fourth quarter.

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