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  • Writer's pictureJamal Saafir

SEC Falls Back and Let's Grayscale Through Without Appeal, ETF May Be In Sight

Based upon a prior report from Coindesk, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission did not appeal a court's decision to reverse its decision not to let Grayscale convert its bitcoin trust into an exchange-traded fund, which may be possibly setting the stage for North America's first bitcoin ETF.

The regulator had until midnight Friday the 13th to determine if they would challenge the court’s decision, but the SEC has let that deadline come and go without appealing.

Bitcoin's price rose above $27,000 upon speculation of the SEC's refusal to appeal, but now has retraced back under $27K again.

In August, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the SEC’s denial of Grayscale Investment’s application to convert the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into an ETF was not valid and must be reviewed, calling it an “arbitrary and capricious” rejection. The court said that federal agencies are required to “treat like cases alike.”

“The Securities and Exchange Commission recently approved the trading of two bitcoin futures funds on national exchanges but denied approval of Grayscale’s bitcoin fund,” Circuit Judge Neomi Rao said in August.

It remains unknown how the SEC will go forward in its future handling of Grayscale’s application. The agency retains the authority to reject it for reasons besides the ones courts did not agree, though Grayscale could re-challenge in court.

Grayscale first applied to convert its closed-end fund into an ETF in October 2021. GBTC is the largest cryptocurrency fund in the world and has been trading at a discount to its bitcoin holdings since February 2021. That discount reached almost 50% at one point but has since retreated to levels around 17%.

Grayscale espouses that the transition of GBTC to an ETF would remove the discount as it would diminish the gap between the price and the underlying bitcoin. The structure of ETFs allows for a creation-redemption model which means new ETF shares can be created to meet demand or redeemed to reduce supply.

Grayscale is among several other entities that have filed for Bitcoin spot ETFs. BlackRock and Fidelity are among companies awaiting approval from the SEC.

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