SEC Could Prepare Alternative Arguments to Reject Spot Bitcoin ETFs: Berenberg

Coinbase’s potential involvement in spot bitcoin ETFs could serve as part of the SEC’s reconfigured arguments for rejecting the applications, the report said.

AccessTimeIconAug 31, 2023 at 9:19 a.m. UTC
Updated Aug 31, 2023 at 3:39 p.m. UTC
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It is quite possible that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will prepare alternative arguments to justify continued rejections of spot bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded-fund (ETF) applications based on concerns about the spot bitcoin market, German investment bank Berenberg said in a research report Wednesday.

Still, Grayscale’s victory may have increased the likelihood that the “SEC will finally approve one or more spot bitcoin ETF applications,” analysts led by Mark Palmer wrote.

A federal court ruled on Tuesday that the SEC must review its rejection of Grayscale’s attempt to convert the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into an ETF.

The approval of a spot bitcoin ETF could be a game changer for the crypto industry as it would allow a wider range of institutional investors to access the market. ETFs are popular because they allow market participants to invest in cryptocurrencies without having to purchase the underlying digital assets themselves.

The panel did not compel the SEC to approve a spot bitcoin ETF, but said the regulator needed to revisit the arguments it used to support its rejection of Grayscale’s application, the analysts wrote.

The SEC also has the option to appeal the panel’s ruling, the report said.

Berenberg notes that crypto-exposed stocks surged following the Grayscale legal win, with Coinbase (COIN) gaining 14.9% and MicroStrategy (MSTR) rallying 10.8%.

“Approval of a spot ETF would be good for bitcoin, and anything that would be good for bitcoin would be good for MSTR,” the bank said. However for Coinbase, the company’s potential involvement in those ETFs could serve as part of the “SEC’s reconfigured arguments for rejecting the applications.”

CoinDesk’s parent company, Digital Currency Group, owns Grayscale.

Edited by Oliver Knight.


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Will Canny is CoinDesk's finance reporter.

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