Conversations about launching spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the United States have moved to advanced stages, Reuters reported Thursday, citing unnamed sources.
According to the report, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has begun to ask potential spot Bitcoin ETF issuers detailed and technical questions about the products, a move the sources said indicated that the regulator might soon approve their pending applications.
U.S. Spot Bitcoin ETF Talks Advance
Between June and December 2023, 13 asset management firms have filed applications with the SEC to launch spot Bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. The companies include traditional finance giants like BlackRock, Ark Invest, Invesco, Fidelity Digital, VanEck, and Franklin Templeton.
Grayscale rejoined the race in August after a court ordered the SEC to review the asset manager’s application to turn its flagship product, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), into a spot Bitcoin ETF. Some sources believe the court’s ruling in Grayscale’s case against the SEC will propel the regulator to approve the applications.
The SEC has rejected spot Bitcoin ETF applications over the years due to concerns about market manipulation, but people familiar with the matter revealed that the agency has started asking for details, some of which are usually sought toward the end of an ETF application process.
Citing about six industry executives and public memos from the agency, Reuters said the questions include creation and redemption mechanisms, custody arrangements, and investor risk disclosures.
Intensified Information Requests From the SEC
In addition, official meetings between the SEC and the asset managers have advanced from involving staff from the agency’s trading, markets, and corporate finance divisions to employees in Chair Gary Gensler’s office. The frequency of information requests from the regulator has also intensified from every few months to every week.
As the spot Bitcoin ETF talks advance, the potential issuers have adjusted their filings to reflect new arrangements, as seen in the cases of BlackRock, Grayscale, and Ark Invest.
While the crypto community anticipates the SEC’s final decision on Ark Invest’s filing, which is first in line, on January 10, 2024, there is no guarantee, and the agency has not stated publicly that it would approve the firm’s product. However, sources are optimistic that the advanced nature of discussions may lead to the approval of all the applications by next month.