Bitcoin ETF Chaos Memorialized on Blockchain, With Nod to 'Chancellor on the Brink' Reference

Jokester pays $2.97 to record the one-liner "SEC Chairman on the brink of second ETF approval" on the blockchain.

AccessTimeIconJan 10, 2024 at 2:48 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 7:39 p.m. UTC

As speculation swells to a fever pitch over the imminent approval of bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds (ETF) in the U.S., one clever jokester has apparently gone to the lengths of memorializing the hype into the world's largest blockchain.

With analysts speculating that the approval could come as soon as Wednesday and that the vehicles theoretically could start trading as early as Thursday, one Bitcoin user posted a transaction late Tuesday that included the encoded message, "SEC Chairman on the brink of second ETF approval."

The sentence was embedded using Bitcoin's OP_RETURN function, which makes a transaction unspendable but allows for data up to 80 bytes. According to the website, which tracks activity on the Bitcoin blockchain, the fee paid was $2.97.

The SEC has been at the center of intense speculation not only because of the regulator's longstanding opposition to a spot Bitcoin ETF, but also a hack on Tuesday of its official Twitter account that led to a fake posting of an approval announcement, roiling crypto markets.

The choice of wording for Tuesday's Bitcoin transaction stunt recalls the message purportedly embedded into the blockchain's original "Genesis" block in 2009, a headline from British newspaper The Times that read: "Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks."

Edited by Aoyon Ashraf.


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Bradley Keoun

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Tech & Protocols team. He owns less than $1,000 each of several cryptocurrencies.