ARK's Wood and Galaxy's Novogratz talk Twitter and Bitcoin ETFs in the Bahamas

Quick Take

  • Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz and ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood addressed Bitcoin ETFs and the recent Twitter deal in a Bahamas panel.
  • They expressed hope for an ETF approval sooner rather than later.
  • The two butted heads over whether Elon Musk will effectively decentralize Twitter.

Galaxy Digital's Mike Novogratz and ARK Invest's Cathie Wood see the tides changing for a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) and for Twitter under Elon Musk.

During a Tuesday panel at FTX and SALT's Crypto Bahamas conference, Novogratz and Wood addressed how the recent Twitter deal could be good for crypto and how coming shifts in the political sphere could lead to the approval of a spot bitcoin ETF. 

Twitter

Novogratz and Wood butted heads over the recent deal between Tesla head Elon Musk and Twitter. Musk bought the social media platform with the intention of taking it private in a $44 billion deal this week.

Last year, Wood participated in a panel about bitcoin with Twitter founder and Block Head Jack Dorsey and Musk. Since then, Wood said she suspects their relationship has grown.

“I think Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk have gotten much closer since our 'B Word' conference last year," she said.

Given this relationship and where it began, Wood said she expects more crypto aspects to crop up on the platform.

“I think we’re going to see a lot more crypto permeating Twitter," she said.

For his part, Novogratz said he's skeptical of Musk's ability to decentralize the platform. In his view, the long-term hope is for decentralized social media, and the recent deal has just shifted the point of centralization from Twitter's board to Musk.

Wood took issue with this, pointing out that Musk has frequently delivered on his promises over time, and she's confident he will open-source the platform.

Bitcoin ETF

A spot bitcoin product has been notoriously challenging to get through the US's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with the securities regulator rejecting every proposal it's been pressed to make a decision on thus far. The SEC has, however, approved futures-based products, likely due to their reliance on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which chairman Gary Gensler has expressed as a more palatable venue for market surveillance.

ARK's offering was rejected at the start of this month. Yet Wood said ARK will reapply at some point. Galaxy's proposal is still before the SEC.

For the time being, Wood said she's confused by the SEC's logic of approving a futures-based product without a sense of comfort with the underlying. Grayscale, which has an application for a spot ETF with the SEC, has expressed similar sentiments.

Novogratz said he believes an approval could come soon, as Gensler faces mounting pressure from crypto-friendly lawmakers. In Novogratz's view, Democrats will likely lose in the midterms, and Gensler will shift his views on bitcoin "sooner rather than later," as more technology-focused lawmakers take their seats.

"I do think we’ll have a bitcoin ETF this year, maybe next year," he said.

Wood said it's less of a party divide pushing crypto-friendly regulation forward, it's lawmakers who are focused more on technology than financial services.

“Those who are thinking about it from a technology point of view are accepting it," she said.


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About Author

Aislinn Keely joined The Block in the summer of 2019. She is a member of the outlet's policy team, holding down the legal beat. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV, where she reported and anchored newscasts in addition to some podcast work. Aislinn is a proud Fordham Ram and editor-in-chief emerita of its newspaper. When she isn't writing or reporting, Aislinn is running and rock climbing.