Bloomberg ETF analysts have boosted their approval odds for a U.S. Bitcoin (BTC) spot ETF from 50% to 65%, in light of “recent events and new information.”
The analysts believe it is most likely that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will simultaneously approve all recent applications for the product after Grayscale defeats the agency in federal court.
The ETF Approval Thesis
As published by analysts James Seyffart and Eric Balcunas to Bloomberg Terminal, a flurry of new developments make the approval seem close.
These include SEC chairman Gary Gensler’s “downplaying” of his role at the agency, and the regulator’s “tacit approval” of Coinbase as a Bitcoin exchange. Coinbase has been selected by an array of new applicants – including BlackRock and Fidelity – to form a surveillance-sharing agreement with relevant exchanges to help meet the SEC’s requirements for detecting BTC market manipulation.
“Pressure from BlackRock and possibly Democrats could make denying the ETF politically untenable for Gensler,” they added.
However, Bloomberg highlighted Grayscale – the owner of the world’s largest Bitcoin fund – as its main source of optimism.
“The lynchpin for this current thesis is a Grayscale victory over the SEC in Federal court,” wrote Seyffart to Twitter on Wednesday. “Which COULD set things up for a wave of SEC approvals sometime in the 4th quarter? All depends on how much Gensler wants to fight here.”
Grayscale is fighting to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a Bitcoin spot ETF in court, by challenging the SEC’s prior denials of their attempts as “arbitrary and capricious.” The firm maintains that its proposed surveillance-sharing partner – CME Bitcoin Futures – should be able to satisfy the agency’s requirements.
In fact, the company sent a letter to the SEC last week arguing that none of the recent applicants partnering with Coinbase should be approved, based on the commission’s denial of applications with similar arrangements in the past.
If they do, Grayscale argued that the SEC must approve all ETF products at the same time – including their own, for the sake of fairness.
ETF Approval Deadlines
The SEC’s first deadline to approve one of the recent ETF filings is on August 13 for the Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB). This deadline can be postponed until January 10, however, which Seyffart has previously acknowledged as a likely outcome.
Meanwhile, Grayscale expects to receive a decision in its lawsuit against the SEC before Fall 2023.
However, even if they win the case, some experts believe this may not lead to immediate approval for its conversion. “A “win” may just mean the court of appeals directs the SEC to revisit their decision,” said Joe Carlasare, a commercial litigator, to CryptoPotato last month.
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