Regulatory authorities are likely to mandate a cash-based creation model for upcoming Bitcoin ETFs, suggests Eric Balchunas, an ETF analyst at Bloomberg. This model would influence fund management costs and investor fees.
The Debate: In-Kind or In-Cash?
Recently, ETF proponents like BlackRock have been discussing their proposed redemption method with the SEC. This method involves aligning ETF share value with Bitcoin’s market value. BlackRock has advocated for an ‘In-Kind’ model, where an intermediary would directly transfer Bitcoin to the ETF issuer to match new share issuance demand.
However, the SEC prefers a ‘cash-create’ model, requiring intermediaries to give cash to ETF issuers to purchase necessary Bitcoin. This method avoids intermediaries directly handling Bitcoin, aligning with regulatory preferences.
But this approach comes with financial implications. As Balchunas pointed out in a Thursday post on X; “Cash creates are worse for taxes bc cash changes hands vs in-kind is simply a trade and no cash exchanges hands. Thus, cash create only bitcoin ETFs are not ideal and screw up one major advantage of ETF structure. Still better than nothing and hopefully they solve in-kind soon.“
ETF issuers managing the Bitcoin-to-cash process internally could face tax liabilities with each sale of the fund’s Bitcoin. This could particularly impact the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust if it transitions to an ETF, given its long-term holding of Bitcoin at much lower historical prices.
Analyst Eric Balchunas suggests that a move to cash-create ETFs seems certain, hinted at by recent ETF applications and industry buzz.