SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Bitcoin is 10 years old. But it won't go mainstream until it's regulated

Bitcoin, the world's most famous cryptocurrency, just celebrated its tenth anniversary.The digital cu...

Posted: Jan 14, 2019 10:11 PM
Updated: Jan 14, 2019 10:11 PM

Bitcoin, the world's most famous cryptocurrency, just celebrated its tenth anniversary.

The digital currency has made plenty of strides toward legitimacy since it first launched, but it won't become a mainstream investment without the embrace of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bitcoin

Business, economy and trade

Digital currencies

Economy and economic indicators

Money, banknotes and coins

Banking, finance and investments

Financial markets and investing

Government organizations - US

US federal departments and agencies

US government independent agencies

US Securities and Exchange Commission

Derivatives markets

Exchange-traded funds

Funds and investment trusts

Securities trading

Currencies

The SEC has yet to give the green light to any bitcoin projects. The agency has already rejected bitcoin ETF plans from Direxion, ProShares and Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the twins who became known for their legal battle with Mark Zuckerberg over the origins of the idea for Facebook.

Bitwise Asset Management filed last week with the SEC for an exchange-traded fund that would track bitcoin's performance. Another company, Wilshire Phoenix Funds, filed to sell shares of a fund that would own a mix of bitcoin, short-term Treasury bills and US dollars.

A decision about another proposed bitcoin ETF from mutual fund firm VanEck has been delayed. Because the shutdown is forcing the SEC to run with limited staff, that issue is not likely to be resolved until the government reopens.

The SEC did not respond to a request for comment.

Matt Hougan, global head of research for Bitwise Asset Management, said he thinks the SEC is just being prudent and won't rush to give the thumbs up to ETFs for an asset class that's still evolving.

He noted the SEC took a similarly cautious approach to gold ETFs several years ago before approving many of them. The Winklevoss twins said in an interview this week that they agree with the SEC's cautious approach and will wait years for it to approve their ETF.

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin present a lot of reason for caution.

Although the price of a single bitcoin (XBT) was once worth nearly $20,000 in December 2017, the value has fallen more than 80% since then to about $3,650. The currency is often compared unfavorably to the greatest financial panics in history.

"Bitcoin is a speculative asset that's still in its infancy," said John Ryding, an economist and adviser at Moeda, which uses blockchain technology to help small businesses get loans. "It can take quite a while for the market to shake out some of the excess. The good news is that bitcoin's been beaten up but it's still in the game."

Bitcoin optimists like Hougan think the worst is over. And there's evidence of mainstream acceptance.

In 2017, bitcoin futures launched on both the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the mutual fund giant Fidelity also established a trading platform for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies late last year.

Noted bitcoin bear Jeff Gundlach of DoubleLine Capital sounds positive, too. He recently told investors he thinks bitcoin prices could rally later this year and get back to about $5,000. That's nowhere near the currency's high, but it still is about a 35% gain from current levels. Stable trading could help convince the SEC that the time is right to change its tune.

Others aren't so sure that bitcoin's on the rebound.

"We have not seen the bottom in bitcoin," wrote Marin Katusa, head of Katusa Research in a recent report. "The dot-com bubble of the late '90s played out exactly the same way. Hundreds of companies rode the soaring wave of investor sentiment in order to cash in on the hysteria. Hysteria can only support valuations for so long, and eventually fundamentals take over."

Hysteria often gives way to fear as well. The dramatic drop might have scared off some investors forever.

Hougan conceded that there needs to be a big shakeout in the cryptocurrency market for bitcoin to rebound. There are simply too many digital coins out there, and bitcoin still has the dominant market share.

"Most cryptocurrencies are garbage and will be discarded into the dustbin of history," Hougan said. "The sooner the better."

West Lafayette
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 53°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 44°
Rensselaer
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 45°
Fowler
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 53°
Williamsport
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 44°
Crawfordsville
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 46°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 46°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 44°
Monticello
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 44°
Logansport
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 46°
Another cold one before we warm up! Patchy frost is possible tonight.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 730969

Reported Deaths: 13434
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1000031743
Lake53771970
Allen40668678
St. Joseph35733552
Hamilton35629408
Elkhart28577442
Tippecanoe22402219
Vanderburgh22310397
Porter18776308
Johnson17970379
Hendricks17244315
Clark12985191
Madison12673339
Vigo12449247
LaPorte11928211
Monroe11893170
Delaware10696186
Howard9924216
Kosciusko9410117
Hancock8284141
Bartholomew8070156
Warrick7784155
Floyd7669178
Grant7060174
Wayne7051199
Boone6700101
Morgan6576139
Dubois6156117
Marshall6050111
Dearborn581378
Cass5808105
Henry5720103
Noble561384
Jackson501773
Shelby491996
Lawrence4546120
Harrison435872
Gibson435492
DeKalb428485
Clinton427453
Montgomery424189
Whitley396139
Huntington391980
Steuben387857
Miami381866
Knox371990
Jasper366047
Putnam360760
Wabash354179
Adams341354
Ripley339770
Jefferson330981
White314354
Daviess297399
Wells291581
Decatur285492
Fayette280762
Greene278985
Posey271533
LaGrange266770
Scott266354
Clay260247
Randolph240781
Washington240732
Spencer232131
Jennings230149
Starke216654
Fountain212346
Sullivan211942
Owen200256
Fulton195440
Jay195130
Carroll189320
Orange183654
Perry183037
Rush173425
Vermillion169143
Franklin168135
Tipton162845
Parke146316
Blackford134932
Pike134334
Pulaski116845
Newton107834
Brown102141
Crawford99814
Benton98614
Martin89115
Warren82115
Switzerland7918
Union71010
Ohio56811
Unassigned0416

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events