SEC Sets Year-End Deadline for Bitcoin ETF Approvals, First Wave to Arrive in January


The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has set a firm deadline of December 29th for companies looking to launch Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) linked to Bitcoin spot prices, according to people familiar with the conversations. This news was revealed during a high-level meeting on December 21st, which included representatives from leading financial entities like BlackRock, Grayscale Investments, ARK Investments, and 21 Shares. Exchanges such as Nasdaq and Cboe, as well as lawyers for the issuers, were also present in the meeting.

The SEC plans to start approving ETF applications in early January. Executives from two of the firms said that the SEC officials informed attendees that any company not meeting the deadline will not be included in the initial wave of approvals in January 2024. The final submissions from the companies are expected to provide details such as technical specifications, fee structures, and initial funding strategies for the ETFs. ARK and 21 Shares have already revealed their proposed fee of 0.80% for their collaborative ETF. The SEC’s decision on the ARK and 21 Shares joint ETF proposal is due by January 10th, 2024, and it is believed that the SEC may approve multiple applications at once, potentially allowing for the very first spot Bitcoin ETFs in the U.S.

The Dec. 29 deadline marks a considerable shift in the SEC’s approach to regulating the crypto market. The watchdog has previously rejected numerous applications for spot Bitcoin ETFs due to worries about market manipulation and investor protection. However, recent events, such as a federal court ruling against the SEC’s refusal of Grayscale’s ETF proposal, show a possible change in regulatory views.

The introduction of spot Bitcoin ETFs could be a significant development, offering a regulated route for mainstream investors to gain exposure to the crypto market. The industry and financial markets are now eagerly awaiting the SEC’s decisions in early January, which could potentially open a new chapter in cryptocurrency investment and bring digital currencies further into the global financial system.

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