Grayscale Investments CEO Michael Sonnenshein said he is unsure whether the crypto asset manager needs to refile its application with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to convert its GBTC product to a spot bitcoin ETF. This is despite the company’s recent “huge win” against the SEC, when a United States appeals court overturned the SEC’s block on Grayscale’s proposed spot bitcoin ETF.
The SEC has 45 days to request a rehearing. If the SEC does not request a rehearing, the court will issue a final mandate and further directives. Sonnenshein said that Grayscale will need to see the final operational procedures that come through the final mandate before deciding whether to refile its application.
Following the ruling, the SEC can either approve the conversion of GBTC into an ETF, deny it for some other reason, or force the closure of existing futures-based bitcoin ETFs.
The market reaction to the Grayscale decision was mixed. GBTC discount to net asset value narrowed from -25% to -17%, while bitcoin’s value surged by 5.4% to $27,450 immediately following the court’s decision. However, GBTC fell back 4% yesterday as the market reflected on the potential for conversion.
It remains uncertain whether Grayscale will refile if directed, especially as GBTC charges a 2% fee — notably higher than typical ETF charges. However, Sonnenshein reiterated that the company is “committed to lowering fees when GBTC converts to an ETF.”
Grayscale’s legal victory could also have broader implications for pending spot bitcoin ETF applications. Upcoming deadlines for the SEC’s decision to approve, reject or delay proposals from BlackRock, Bitwise, VanEck, WisdomTree, Invesco, Fidelity and Valkyrie fall from Sept. 1 to Sept. 4. However, delays are broadly anticipated so soon after the court ruling.
“There really shouldn’t be any further grounds like the SEC has been relying on to continue denying these types of products from coming to market,” Sonnenshein said.
Bloomberg analysts said that they now estimate a 75% probability of a spot bitcoin ETF launching in 2023 — with it being almost a “done deal” by the end of 2024.
The future of spot bitcoin ETFs in the United States is still uncertain, but Grayscale’s legal victory is a major step forward for the industry.