US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the first US-listed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to track Bitcoin. The securities regulator approved 11 applications, including BlackRock, Ark Investments/21 Shares, Fidelity, Invesco, and VanEck, among others. This announcement pushed Bitcoin prices up by three per cent and more than 70 per cent in anticipation of this announcement. However, as the dust settled, it became clear that this growing trend of financial institutions looking into digital assets runs contrary to the initial vision of Bitcoin and the Web3 space set by Satoshi Nakamoto when he first published the Bitcoin whitepaper in 2008. This vision aimed for a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that could be sent directly from party to party without going through a financial institution. It focused on decentralisation and a “code is law” philosophy, aiming to remove biases, corruption, and political motivations. The approval of Bitcoin ETF signifies the start of institutions entering a market previously left unregulated. It may mean that institutions will add their existing rules and regulations to the Web3 space and leverage it as part of their traditional businesses, somewhat moving backward from decentralisation. If Nakamoto were here today, he might question whether the development of his ideology and Bitcoin has stayed true to his vision.
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