The simmering war for Bitcoin‘s BTC/USD soul erupts anew, this time over the contentious issue of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Max Keiser, a prominent Bitcoin maximalist and advisor to El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele, fired the first salvo, casting doubt on the legitimacy of these financial instruments.
“Buying BTC ETFs doesn’t own you any Bitcoin,” Keiser said on X, painting ETFs as mere “index products” divorced from the real asset.
He ominously added, “U.S. government plans to seize all BTC ETFs in the interest of national security,” alluding to the age-old “not your keys, not your coins” mantra of Bitcoin maximalists.
But Keiser’s claims found swift rebuttal from seasoned ETF analysts.
Eric Balchunas, senior expert at Bloomberg, debunked the “depository receipt” myth, clarifying that “You DO own the BTC” via shares linked to real, custodied Bitcoin.
“No one using an ETF wants BTC back,” he quipped, highlighting their purpose as convenient proxies for trading not holding.
James Seyffart, another Bloomberg analyst, echoed this sentiment, arguing that “Bitcoin ETFs face less potential issues than gold ETFs,” which grapple with concerns like bar purity and fakes. He suggested, with a touch of sarcasm, that Keiser’s worries echo outdated “gold bug” anxieties about ETFs not owning the precious metal.
The clash exposes a fundamental fault line in the Bitcoin community.
Maximalists like Keiser view direct ownership as paramount, distrustful of centralized entities and their promises. The ETF camp, on the other hand, sees these instruments as crucial for boosting Bitcoin’s mainstream adoption and market access.
As the debate heats up, investors face a critical question: are ETFs friend or foe?
Do they dilute the essence of Bitcoin or pave the way for wider adoption?
The answer likely lies somewhere in the nuanced dance between decentralization and accessibility, innovation and caution.
One thing is certain: a Bitcoin ETF approval will spark more discussions, as it sets to reshape the financial landscape.