SEC Delays Decision on HashDex Bitcoin Spot ETF Application, Grayscale Ether Futures Filing

Franklin Templeton also has an outstanding bitcoin ETF application with a Nov. 17 decision deadline.

AccessTimeIconNov 15, 2023 at 7:03 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 5:14 p.m. UTC

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is delaying a decision on an application by Hashdex to convert its existing bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) into a spot vehicle. The agency has also delayed action on Grayscale's attempt to launch a new futures-based ether ETF.

Hashdex filed to convert its bitcoin futures ETF into a spot bitcoin ETF in September. Grayscale (a subsidiary of CoinDesk parent Digital Currency Group) filed for its ether futures ETF that same month. Both filings faced initial deadlines of Nov. 17 for a decision, but the SEC today said it was extending this window, according to a pair of Wednesday filings.

The delays come amid heightened anticipation of a spot bitcoin ETF approval by the federal regulator, which has so far rejected every attempt to list such a product for the general investing public. Over a dozen companies have filed to launch spot bitcoin ETFs in 2023, with several others now applying for similar products exposed to ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

The regulator has yet to indicate how it might ultimately rule on the latest slate of applicants. Previous rejections raised concerns about the susceptibility of bitcoin to market manipulation and a lack of surveillance-sharing agreements, among other concerns. Applicants now say these concerns have been addressed or are no longer relevant after the approval of bitcoin futures ETFs, a view an appeals court echoed earlier this year. The SEC has so far delayed making final decisions on these applications.

Today's delays don't seem to be putting a dent in the price of bitcoin (BTC), which has moved higher by more than 5% this afternoon to $37,500.

Franklin Templeton, another bitcoin ETF applicant, also faces a Nov. 17 deadline, while other companies will not see any further decisions until 2024.

Edited by Stephen Alpher.


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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.