A highlight from 1256. $300 Billion Coming To Bitcoin ETF w/Mark Yusko
All right, so welcome in today. We're going to be diving into topics around ETFs and also what is happening with the SEC in terms of their enforcement actions and some of the things they've been doing that could be causing a slowdown in innovation for blockchain. We'll break into all this good stuff today. I think you'll like it. My name is Paul Baron. Welcome back in to Tech Path. Joining me today is a regular guest, one that I think you guys all love, and that is Mr. Marc Usko coming in from Morgan Creek Capital. Great to have you on the show today. No, great to be with you, Paul, as always, and happy Friday. It's going to be a good one, Marc. Let's first of all get into a few things. I want to lead off the show with a tweet from James Seyfert, who is one of the Bloomberg analysts on ETFs. He does a really good breakdown. He's been on our show before. There's some dates to watch here. We've got middle of October, next major days to watch. October 16th with Global, and then also October 7th. And then you've got all these scenarios playing out right here with iShares, which of course is BlackRock. I'll zoom in on that a little bit so you guys can see it. Second deadline coming up on 10 -17, and then a slew right there on that same day. First of all, I want to get your opinion on, do you think that this October is when the SEC might actually give us an early Christmas present? Or are you just going to get pushed again? No, look, I'm 50 -50 at this point. So I do think more tricks than treats for anyone who's 10 -17 date. So any decision before that date, I think is a negative decision. I'm not sure it'll be an outright denial, but will definitely be an extension and a push. And then we come to the big dog. I believe, and I've said multiple times, that BlackRock will be the first one. I've actually been saying that for over a year. I actually might even go stronger and say, oh, that'll never happen. That would be too much corruption. Well, I'm just saying it's certainly possible. What's probably more likely is BlackRock first, and then a gap, and then some number of others. But the thing is, whoever's first is going to get the vast majority of assets. Vast majority. Well, first mover is always going to be taking. I mean, that's just like the gold ETF, kind of the same kind of scenario. Yeah. The gold ETF is an example with GLD. You had the Bitcoin futures ETF with Bitto getting 98 % and then a couple others getting like 1 % each. So that's just my belief. And I believe it's who you know in this game, not what you know. There are a lot of people who have should gotten approved. The Winklevoss twins were the first to apply. They should have gotten approved. There was no reason not to approve it other than, again, kind of the way the game is played and the people in charge want to be in charge. So any new disruptive players I think are unlikely. Cathie Wood partnered with one of our companies, portfolio Amun, to do 21 shares. That looked like a great application ding pushed out. I think Bitwise is a day ahead of iShares on 10 .16 as much as I would love it. Again, portfolio company, full disclosure. I would love for them to get approved. I just don't think it's going to happen. Again, I don't think it'll be denied. I just think they'll be pushed. And here's why I'm 50 -50, Paul, to answer the question. I think they could approve on the 17th, but I don't think they will. I think they'll push it into next year. So you push 90 days. That gets you into January. January 15th. Yeah. You could push again then into March, April. But that's it. Then you have to approve. Now, what's interesting is we have this little thing called the halving coming up in mid -April of 24. And so it would be an interesting alignment of stars. But I said, could they pull the trigger on BlackRock in a month? Yeah, they could. Yeah. All right. Well, with that and to your point, the third deadline, just so everybody can put it on your calendar out there, you've got January 15th for BlackRock and then moving in all the way into March, what we're going to discuss there. March would be an interesting timing. I think you're right, because obviously the halving right there on the cusp of that, along with maybe a little bit of lightening the load in terms of inflation, because I feel like we're going to continue to see some inflation hits through the end of the year. What is your thought on how the inflation numbers came in this week and how the Fed might react? I don't think the Fed cares about gasoline prices, quite honestly, Paul. All this little blip is gasoline prices, all of it. I think most of the other components were actually negative. And the gasoline prices are because Saudi has decided to go a different direction. We had a very hunky dory relationship with Saudi from 1973 till now. And that's clearly over, right? The big guy went over to Saudi right before the election last year and tried to get them to pump more to get oil prices down and gasoline prices down, because there's this inverse correlation between presidential popularity and gas prices. And they basically said pound sand. And so he came down, he came in and said, well, this is a convenient decision to get gasoline prices down. Guess what happened? Democrats did pretty well in the election. And because there's no way out for that now, though. I mean, there's no way. Now we have an empty SPR. And the thing is, we can't fill it up ourselves because, and again, not to get too technical, but there's, there's light sweet crude, which we produce and a number of other places, Nigeria and others produce. And then there's heavy sour crude, more sulfur content, because we cut this deal with the Saudis in the seventies, we built all of our refining inventory infrastructure, sorry, around processing heavy sour. Yeah. Well, here's the problem. If now Saudi is going to sell their heavy sour to China and Russia and other places, and we're not going to get as much of it, what are we going to do? Well, we've got to build new refineries or retrofit the refiner. It turns out no one wants a new refinery in their backyard. Yeah. I think I'm right. It's been like 30 years since we built a refinery. It turns out they spit out, you know, pollutants and things like that. So nobody really wants one around. We all like driving cars by the way. And and living our lives and, you know, Oh, well, you know, we can, we can stop using oil. No, we can't. Nothing you do every, I mean, everything you do every day, the vast majority of it is powered by oil and gas, the vast majority. And yeah, you say you could get an electric car, but where'd the steel in that car come from? Did they make a little electricity? No. How about the plastics? Nope. Oil. So it's just, it's kind of comical when I hear we're going to, you know, outlaw fossil fuels, but back to the inflation number I think this might not be temporary in the sense that Saudi announced, they're going to do a voluntary cut. Why? Cause they're just sticking the knife in a little bit deeper because they're like, all right guys, you said you were going to refill the SPR. You didn't do it. Oil prices were all the way down in the sixties. Could have easily done it for sure. Now oil prices are in the nineties. Yeah. We're going to hit a hundred bucks a barrel for sure. How does this, okay. So when you look at that Mark and you look at an election year coming in, you've got all this pressure from the macro side, including most likely jobs market getting a lot stiffer. Companies starting to really get some pressure on. We had bankruptcies at the highest point ever. We've had a very long period of time for independent companies. This does not look like a rosy picture. Where do you think we come out of this in relationship to the timing of the havening, a Bitcoin ETF, maybe into next summer? How far into 2024 do you think this happens? So I believe the ETF will be approved sometime around year end, whether it's in early January or December, sometime in that timeframe. And I think that will pave the way for a very large influx of capital. I know you've had Eric on the show about Eunice and he does this great work, right? I mean, there's 30 trillion with a T 30 trillion. Remember 1 trillion is a dollar every second for 31 ,710 years, but 30 trillion is going to come into, or that's the total amount of money managed by RIAAs and others that is not allowed at this point for whatever silly reason to own Bitcoin. And they can't own GBTC and they can't own Bitcoin miners and they've called a timeout. Well, once there's an ETF, particularly if it's an ETF that BlackRock runs, there are going to be no excuse and they're all going to have to approve it. Their clients have been asking for it. I would say I have a family harmony account at UBS. They let me buy what I want to buy. And they're like, no. So I think all that goes away. And I think Eric's number is, let's say one 10th of 1 % comes in. That's 30 billion. Well, but wait, 30 billion on 500 billion. That's not that much. Well, no, it's not 500 billion. 400 billion of the 500 billion of Bitcoin's market cap doesn't really trade. It's either locked up like the Satoshi wallet or the Winklevoss wallet or, you know, hodlers that just said, you know, take it out of my cold, dead hands. It's only about a hundred billion that is the free float to borrow a TradFi term. And so 30 billion on 100, that will move the price. But I don't think it's going to be 10 basis points. I think it's 1%. I think you have to do 1%. As a fiduciary, if you got, you know, 50 % in equities at some of the highest valuations in history, and you got another 30 % in bonds, which have had the first two negative years in the history of the bond market, 140 years of history, two negative years, looking pretty ugly. And you got this asset that is the best performing asset again, 11 of the 14 years that Bitcoin has been alive. It's been the best performing asset of all assets. It's the best performing asset then this year. Yeah. Eric hit on his prediction about 150 billion in terms of market impact. Do you like that number or do you think that he's still like it? Well, again, I think 150 billion would be half a percent, right? Instead of 10 basis points. And it looks like he's updated his, his thoughts. I'll go further and say 1 % seems more likely that'd be 300 billion, 300 billion on a hundred billion of free float price goes up a lot, a lot, a lot. And here's the, the interesting thing, Paul, is the way halvings work is the fair value increases. So we've got a tailwind that the fair value today based on Metcalfe's law model that Tim Peterson runs and that I think is fantastic, says that the fair value is somewhere in the low fifties, 52, 53, let's just call it 50. So at the halving, fair value doubles. What do you mean, Mark? What are you talking about? Well, think about it. The miners who secure the network, their costs are fixed, mining machines and electricity. So if their block rewards, the number of rewards that they're paid to secure the network gets cut in half and the price doesn't move, then they're out of business. So there's a built in mechanism to move the price higher, which is actually really interesting because that attracts attention because there's movement. And so long story short, fair value, every halving added has a zero. So we went from a hundred to a thousand, then we went from a thousand to 10 ,000. Now we go from 10 ,000 to a hundred thousand. So a fair value is a hundred thousand and we're trading at 26. It's a pretty rapid increase to fair value, I think, as investors buy things that are below fair value. But then what happens in the post fall halving, you get this parabolic blow off top. And in the previous cycle, fair value was around 30K. We got all the way to 69. That was because there was too much leverage and too much gambling and speculating. I don't think we go 2X this time or two and a half X this time. Could we get one and a half X? Sure. That gives about 150K, something like that. Yeah. Well, that is OK. So that's very intriguing. If you're if you're estimating this could be in the 300 billion dollar area, you know, for based on, you know, just the exposure to these funds and obviously how that might play out. How do you think retail response to this? Do you think retail is going to come in like a banshee coming in on this with a lot of now what would be legitimized ETFs? How do you think they play? Again, it's I've been saying this for five years. My hashtag get off zero zero is the wrong number, right? This is a truly unique diversifying asset that must be in everyone's portfolio. Doesn't have to be your whole portfolio. I never said that. It should be at least one percent.