What’s Next for Grayscale, Spot Bitcoin ETF After SEC Declines to Appeal Court Loss?

One analyst believes SEC Chair Gary Gensler has little choice but to soon approve the long-awaited vehicle.

AccessTimeIconOct 16, 2023 at 4:11 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 17, 2023 at 3:09 p.m. UTC
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Now that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has failed to appeal its August court loss over Grayscale’s application to convert its Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a spot exchange traded fund (ETF), both Grayscale and the crypto industry are mulling next steps.

“The Grayscale team remains operationally ready to convert GBTC to an ETF upon the SEC’s approval, and we look forward to sharing more information as soon as practicable,” said a Grayscale spokeswoman in an email to CoinDesk. The asset manager further noted that the court will issue its final ruling within seven days. This is likely to be a reiteration of the original August ruling in which the court said the SEC was “arbitrary and capricious” in its reasoning for declining Grayscale’s application for the spot bitcoin product.

Grayscale first applied to convert GBTC into an ETF in October 2021. GBTC is the largest cryptocurrency fund in the world, currently with $16.7 billion in assets under management. Grayscale shares the same parent company with CoinDesk, Digital Currency Group.

"There will be so much political and legal pressure on the SEC that SEC Chair Gary Gensler has to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF," said TD Cowen analyst Jaret Seiberg in a note to clients. Interestingly, Seiberg suggests Gensler and team can make a positive of the reversal. “Cementing its power over Bitcoin ETFs will strengthen the SEC's push for broader crypto authority once Congress is ready to enact crypto market structure legislation," he added.

Other asset management players awaiting spot bitcoin ETF approval from the SEC include BlackRock and Fidelity. Foretelling what such a move might mean, the price of bitcoin surged more than 10% in a handful of minutes on Monday morning on an unverified rumor that BlackRock’s spot ETF application had won approval. The rumor later turned out to be false and bitcoin gave up nearly all of that price spike.

Edited by Stephen Alpher.

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Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.


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