US Securities and Exchange Commission Approves Bitcoin ETFs with Coinbase as Custodian

Coinbase’s Chief Policy Officer discusses the SEC-approved spot Bitcoin ETFs and their impact on the crypto landscape.

Coinbase Will Be Spot BTC ETF Custodian

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In a significant development for the cryptocurrency market, Coinbase (COIN) has emerged as the custodian for numerous spot Bitcoin ETFs recently approved by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

Insights Shared at WEF’s Annual Davos Meeting

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Faryar Shirzad, Coinbase’s Chief Policy Officer, shared insights on this groundbreaking move from the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in an exclusive conversation with Yahoo Finance’s Julie Hyman and Brian Sozzi.

SEC Approval

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Shirzad began by highlighting the profound implications of the SEC’s approval of a series of spot Bitcoin ETFs.

New Investor Influx

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He emphasized that this marked a new chapter, bringing a fresh wave of investors into the crypto community. 

Paving the Way for Crypto Acceptance

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Moreover, the approval puts the SEC on record as endorsing a crucial crypto product, adding symbolic weight to the growing acceptance of digital assets.

Global Crypto Regulatory Landscape

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Discussing the global perspective, Shirzad noted that virtually every G20 economy has either adopted or is in the process of adopting a regulatory framework for crypto. 

Global Shift Toward

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This, he argued, makes the US less relevant in the ongoing regulatory discussions. The widespread adoption of crypto regulations by major economies signifies a global shift toward integrating digital assets into financial systems.

Coinbase’s Role as Custodian

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As the custodian for many of the approved spot Bitcoin ETFs, Coinbase plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of crypto investments. 

Attract Institutional and Retail Investors

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Shirzad emphasized the significance of this role in attracting institutional and retail investors, ultimately contributing to the maturation of the crypto market.

Institutionalization and Mainstream Adoption

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Shifting the focus to the broader landscape, Shirzad acknowledged the evolution of the crypto sector. With more institutional players and mainstream companies entering the space, the sector is becoming less mysterious. 

Crypto Technology Improvement to Traditional Finance Systems

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He noted that the technology underlying cryptocurrencies is considered an undeniable improvement over traditional financial systems.

Legislative Support and Regulatory Clarity

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Addressing the regulatory landscape in the United States, Shirzad acknowledged the need for the country to catch up on crypto regulation. However, he points out that Congress has bipartisan support for constructive crypto legislation.

Legislative Momentum

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Two committees have already passed significant legislation, expected to reach the floor in Q1, signaling a concerted effort to provide regulatory clarity.

The US Crypto Industry

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Shirzad highlighted the substantial size of the crypto market in the US, with approximately 52 million Americans owning crypto. 

Bipartisan Efforts

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Despite regulatory uncertainties, the sheer number of crypto owners makes it a significant segment of the American electorate. This and bipartisan efforts in Congress suggest a positive trajectory for the US crypto industry.

Crypto as a Payment Mechanism

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Discussing the views of global leaders on crypto, Shirzad referred to his conversation with the managing director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva. While acknowledging crypto as a good payment mechanism, she stopped short of declaring it as money. 

Widespread Adoption

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Shirzad expressed his confidence that the ability to move value electronically, facilitated by crypto, is already gaining widespread adoption.

Technology Advancements and Challenges

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Shirzad addressed the challenges associated with crypto payments, acknowledging that practical issues persist despite being frictionless in theory. He discussed Coinbase’s efforts, including the launch of Coinbase Base, a proprietary protocol aimed at improving scalability, speed, and cost.

Future Outlook and Coinbase’s Policy Focus

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Looking ahead, Shirzad outlined the areas where Coinbase will be actively engaged. The US legislation will be a significant focus, given its importance. 

Coinbase’s Active Involvement

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However, Coinbase remained actively involved in all jurisdictions currently involved in rulemaking. From the MEA regulations in the European Union to the evolving frameworks in the UK, Australia, Brazil, Singapore, and South Korea, Coinbase is committed to contributing to these global debates.


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Faryar Shirzad’s insights from Davos showed the transformative role Coinbase is playing in the crypto space. As the custodian for SEC-approved spot Bitcoin ETFs, Coinbase’s influence extends beyond the market to shape regulatory discussions and foster global acceptance of cryptocurrencies. 

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.