Bitcoin ETF Applications Are Bitcoin's Best Marketing Strategy

With the recent Grayscale win over SEC stonewalling, it seems like spot market BTC exchange-traded funds may be soon approved. Here's why that matters.

AccessTimeIconAug 31, 2023 at 4:07 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 5:04 p.m. UTC
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The biggest financial houses in the U.S. are peddling Bitcoin's message and don’t even know it. You see, modern-day marketing isn't confined to catchy ads or snappy slogans. It's about how a concept is presented, the narrative that's woven and the influence it exerts on decision-making.

Today, bitcoin (BTC) is more than just “magic internet money” or lines of code — it's actually reshaping the way we think about finance across the board.

Tim Haldorsson is the CEO of crypto growth agency Lunar Strategy.

At first, it might not seem like it but the recent buzz about bitcoin spot market exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications by heavyweight financial players like BlackRock, Fidelity Investments and VanEck is more than just noise — it's a strategic marketing move that's subtly rewriting the Bitcoin narrative.

Isn’t it remarkable how Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, did a complete U-turn on his stance on Bitcoin from years ago? In a recent interview, he pretty much said Bitcoin is on a path to fueling a revolution in finance.

Let’s dive into why this ETF hoopla is a net positive for Bitcoin, regardless of whether these applications get the green light or face the red tape.

Bitcoin’s billion-dollar cheerleaders

When you and I hear the term "bitcoin ETF," it might not trigger lightbulbs in our heads. But in a room full of financial bigwigs, that phrase carries a lot of weight. Why? Because associating it with exchange-traded funds is a gentle assertion that Bitcoin is knocking on the doors of conventional finance. With each ETF application, the leadership of major financial giants are signing up to do “word-of-mouth” marketing for Bitcoin. This canvassing goes beyond press releases, conferences and interviews, extending beyond the public eye to private – and much more influential – circles.

This particular news cycle is significant because it injects Bitcoin with a dose of credibility, bolstering its legitimacy as an asset class in the eyes of seasoned financiers. After many years of denial and disrepute, the gifted underdog is finally bending the ears of the powers that be. Even the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) appears to have read the room and is treating bitcoin as a “special” class of digital asset.

Once an obscured outlier, Bitcoin now finds itself aligned with one of the most revered investment vehicles, and Wall Street is definitely starting to notice.

Greasing the wheels of momentum

Let's talk about the power of trends, the kind that Google Search volumes and on-chain data reflect. In a world where trending topics dictate dinner table discussions, data analysts have their fingers on the pulse of society's curiosity. As financial powerhouses get more skin in the game, they’ve become de-facto marketing partners for Bitcoin. BlackRock alone controls $8.5 trillion in assets under their management. There’s no shortage of resources to drive publicity around their bid to secure approval for a bitcoin spot ETF.

Bitcoin is more than just a niche curiosity, it's real “money”

The impact is near immediate: a powerful mood shift is building on the momentum of conversations in mainstream media channels associating ETFs with bitcoin. The stats check out too. The price of bitcoin surged to a 13-month high within a couple weeks of BlackRock filing its ETF application.

Why does this matter? Well, bitcoin's price is more than just numbers dancing on a screen. It's determined by an intricate choreography of supply, demand and market sentiment, and now on the verge of breaking into a trillion-dollar playing field, it rightfully deserves to be the heartbeat of a global conversation. The more discussions revolve around ETF applications, the more Bitcoin becomes a household name.

All press is good press

As the saying goes, “All press is good press.” When it comes to the subject of bitcoin ETF applications, that might just hold true. Publications, big and small, love to get their hands on stories that get people talking. But let's zoom out for a moment. Think about the bigger picture. The global economy is going through a pretty rough patch. Fiat currencies are buckling in the face of inflation, while bitcoin stands firm in the eye of this storm.

Nowadays, with finance heavyweights such as Larry Fink talking up Bitcoin on the world stage, the masses are finally tuning in. Shortly after BlackRock filed its Bitcoin ETF application, the CEO had this to say: “Instead of investing in gold as a hedge against inflation, a hedge against the onerous problems of any one country, or the devaluation of your currency whatever country you’re in — let’s be clear, bitcoin is an international asset, it’s not based on any one currency and so it can represent an asset that people can play as an alternative.”

Translation: bitcoin is a universal commodity and a great medium of exchange capable of facilitating the biggest financial vehicles in the world. That’s a sweet marketing pitch, if I do say so myself.

The narrative of Bitcoin as a hedge against economic uncertainties is gradually taking shape again. This is starting to dawn on the largest market makers in the world, and in turn they are seeking to use ETFs as gateways for entering the crypto playing field.

Shifting regulatory dynamics

Some critics point to Canada and Europe's lukewarm response to bitcoin ETFs. But it’s not hard to imagine that things would pan out differently with a fully regulated spot market bitcoin ETF in the United States. It’s no secret that the SEC is cracking down heavily on cryptocurrencies, but any keen observer would’ve noticed a common thread by now. Regulators have focused their ire on altcoins for the most part. While stablecoins have also faced scrutiny, bitcoin remains the most likely digital asset to be approved as is for integration into regulated systems.

There is already a healthy roster of financial behemoths with treasuries worth hundreds of billions waiting in line for a bitcoin ETF application approval. The gravitational pull of the U.S. market cannot be underestimated, and the potential involvement of heavyweight players amplifies this influence.

This is another clear narrative shift, bitcoin isn't just digital gold, it's an equal player in a global financial game. As regulation rapidly develops in the United States, this narrative could play a pivotal role in tipping the scales of public (and institutional-level) sentiment in favor of bitcoin as a viable medium of exchange.

The conversation around bitcoin ETF applications isn't just about the expansion of financial regulations to include cryptocurrency; it's a strategic marketing move that's transforming Bitcoin's narrative. It's reminding the world that Bitcoin is more than just a niche curiosity, it's real “money” as far as the definition goes.

Edited by Daniel Kuhn.


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Tim Haldorsson

Tim Haldorsson is the CEO of crypto growth agency Lunar Strategy.

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