Grayscale Files With SEC to Convert Its Bitcoin Trust Into an ETF

The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust is the largest bitcoin investment vehicle in the world.

Oct 19, 2021 at 1:33 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 20, 2021 at 12:20 a.m. UTC

Grayscale Investments, the world’s largest digital currency asset manager, has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a bitcoin spot ETF, the company announced in a press release Tuesday.

  • The move comes just after the SEC cleared the way on Friday for bitcoin futures ETFs to trade, with ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF scheduled to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
  • GBTC first launched in 2013 and has become the largest bitcoin investment vehicle in the world, with assets under management of close to $40 billion. It holds roughly 3.44% of all bitcoin in circulation, according to Grayscale.
  • Grayscale has talked repeatedly about its plans to convert GBTC, as well as its 14 other crypto trusts, into ETFs.
  • Grayscale’s ETF would be backed by actual units of the cryptocurrency, not simply linked to it via derivatives contracts such as futures. If the SEC approves the proposal, it would be a further expansion of the leading cryptocurrency as a recognized investable asset.
  • Some analysts feel the likelihood of Grayscale getting approval of a bitcoin spot ETF anytime soon is slim, given SEC chair Gary Gensler’s often-stated preference for a futures product that might confer more investor protections.
  • The SEC will now have 75 days to review Grayscale’s application.

Grayscale is a unit of Digital Currency Group, which is also the parent of CoinDesk.

UPDATE (Oct. 19, 14:06 UTC): Added information in fifth bullet point.

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Nelson Wang is CoinDesk's news editor for the East Coast. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.