Solana ETFs and Huge SOL Gains a Real Possibility Under Trump, Major Crypto Trader Says

Market maker GSR sees bigger upside for SOL than bitcoin saw when it got U.S. ETFs.

AccessTimeIconJun 27, 2024 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 27, 2024 at 2:46 p.m. UTC

Under the Biden administration, Solana (SOL) appears nowhere close to getting its own ETF in the U.S. But, according to market-making firm GSR, if Donald Trump retakes the White House, it might be closer than many observers think and price-wise have far more upside than bitcoin (BTC) did when its spot ETF debuted.

The U.S. presidential election could provide a breakthrough for additional crypto ETFs like SOL, per the research note shared with CoinDesk. If Trump becomes president again, he could shake up the established playbook for launching crypto ETFs, which usually takes years and starts with the introduction of federally regulated futures contracts – something solana lacks.

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  • "It may even be probable" that his theoretical administration implements permissive digital asset regulations that allow for the launch of "myriad spot digital asset ETFs," the note said. If that came to pass, SOL, one of the biggest crypto assets behind BTC and Ethereum's ether (ETH) (which already have U.S. ETFs), could be the first to benefit.

    "Solana is poised for a spot ETF if and when additional spot digital asset ETFs are allowed in the US, and the impact on price may just be the largest yet," the market maker's note said.

    Solana is one of only a handful of crypto assets with strong market demand whose network also has a high degree of decentralization, according to GSR's in-house calculations. The market maker said those attributes are expected to guide prospective ETF issuers' willingness to pursue a listing.

    Bitcoin's price more than doubled in the months preceding and following its spot ETF launch, GSR said. If SOL sees just 5% of the inflows that BTC did, its price could more than triple. GSR considered that inflow rate a "base case" because Solana investment products saw 5% of the inflows of bitcoin between 2021 and the end of 2023, before crypto ETF fever took hold.

    "Blue sky" inflow rates of 14% could see Solana's price shoot up nearly ninefold, per the GSR note. The figures are only a fraction of bitcoin's, but given Solana's smaller size have far greater potential for price action.

    Political uncertainty

    There's no ETF price action for solana without a solana ETF. And the asset hasn't checked the all-important box of having traded for years in a federally regulated futures market, as bitcoin and ether (widely expected to soon have its own ETF) did. That means it's years away from launch under the current playbook.

    "All you really need is for Donald Trump to become president and then you're subject to whatever he wants to do," said GSR Senior Strategist Brian Rudick, who wrote the memo.

    If Trump both wins the election and follows through on his campaign trail crypto promises he could bring about the changes necessary for SOL to have a short-term chance at becoming an ETF.

    But that's a big if. And the market hasn't exactly signaled an embrace of that "if," if one niche metric for tracking the likelihood of various crypto ETF launches, the discrepancy in pricing for Grayscale's crypto trust products, is referenced.

    "If there were greater odds of a SOL ETF, what you would see is the price of Grayscale Solana Trust (GSOL) collapse," he said.

    GSOL was trading at around a 750% premium to net asset value at press time, a staggering discrepancy that Rudick also said would collapse if Grayscale converted it to an ETF, as happened to its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) when that became an ETF.

    Rudick cautioned the comparison isn't ironclad because GSOL doesn't have much liquidity, meaning its holders don't have too many willing buyers to dump their overpriced trust shares on.

    Edited by Nick Baker.

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    Danny Nelson

    Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.