Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, is presently serving as the custodian of the majority of the Spot Bitcoin ETFs managed by various asset management companies in the industry. This notable concentration is raising worries in the crypto community about significant centralization and potential risks associated with the custodianship.
Coinbase Dominate ETFs As Major Custodian
Coinbase’s significant role in the advancement of Spot Bitcoin ETFs has become a target of scrutiny in the crypto community. The American crypto exchange is currently the custodian of 9 out of 11 Spot Bitcoin ETF companies, including BlackRock, Grayscale, Ark/21 Shares, Bitwise, WisdomTree, Invesco/Galaxy, Valkyrie, GlobalX, and Franklin Templeton.
Notably, only Fidelity and VanEck have opted for alternative custodianship approaches. Fidelity is employing a self-custody program for its Spot Bitcoin ETF, while VanEck has selected Gemini, a crypto exchange, as the custodian for its Spot BTC ETF.
The prominent role of Coinbase as the major custodian for Spot BTC ETFs has raised serious questions and concerns in the crypto community. Specifically, Gabor Gurbacs, Director of Digital Assets Strategy at VanEck, has deemed Coinbase’s concentrated level of custodianship to be a “double-edged sword.”
Gurbacs stated that Coinbase would bear substantial responsibility as the primary custodian for Spot Bitcoin ETFs and would reap significant benefits from it. However, he also hinted at potential counterparty risks associated with concentrating assets within a single entity.
Similarly, a crypto analyst on X (formerly Twitter) highlighted the potential for increased scrutiny from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding Coinbase, given its prominent position in the Spot Bitcoin ETF market. The crypto exchange is presently in a legal battle with the SEC, and many crypto enthusiasts believe that Coinbase’s regulatory challenges may pose a threat to the success of Spot BTC ETFs.
BTC price breaks $43,000 | Source: BTCUSD on Tradingview.com
Coinbase CFO Bullish On Bitcoin ETFs
The Chief Financial Officer of Coinbase, Alesia Haas appeared recently in an interview on Bloomberg TV, discussing the effects of Spot Bitcoin ETFs in the crypto market.
When asked if the momentum of Spot Bitcoin ETFs would become a “game-changer” in the future, Haas responded confidently with a resounding “absolutely.”
The Coinbase CFO declared that the SEC’s approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs was an important day for crypto, as it positions Bitcoin into a much broader investable asset class. She also revealed that the deployment of Spot Bitcoin ETFs would allow investors to have greater access to BTC products, extending its reach to billions of people around the globe and increasing the amount of inflows into ETFs.
Featured image from Ripples Nigeria, chart from Tradingview.com
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