Grayscale, Fidelity join expanding fray in final stretch for a possible spot bitcoin ETF

Filings by Cboe, NYSE and Nasdaq indicate there are 11 firms aiming to get approval for spot bitcoin ETFs as soon as next week


Artwork by Crystal Le


More stock exchanges filed potentially crucial documents on behalf of prospective spot bitcoin ETF issuers ahead of long-awaited decisions by the SEC.

The New York Stock Exchange filed a new 19b-4 document on behalf of Grayscale late Friday, signaling the crypto asset manager is in the final stages of its bid to launch a bitcoin ETF.

The Securities and Exchange Commission can still block the proposal, as it has done to such planned funds over the years. 

NYSE, the exchange on which the Grayscale ETF would trade, filed amendments for planned funds by Hashdex and Bitwise as well.

Meanwhile, Cboe BZX filed amended 19b-4s for proposed spot bitcoin ETFs by Ark and 21Shares; Invesco and Galaxy; Fidelity; WisdomTree; and Franklin Templeton. VanEck’s 19b-4 was the final one to be filed on Friday.

The SEC has not yet approved the 19b-4 documents filed by NYSE or Cboe. Nor has the regulator weighed in on ones filed earlier in the day by Nasdaq for proposals by BlackRock and Valkyrie

Read more: BlackRock, Valkyrie inch closer to potential spot bitcoin ETF decision

Jan. 10 is the deadline for the SEC to decide on a planned spot bitcoin fund by Ark Invest and 21Shares. Market experts expect the SEC to also rule on a handful of the other proposals by that date.

Approval of the 19b-4s would represent one step toward the launch of spot bitcoin ETFs. The SEC would also have to deem effective the fund issuers’ registration statements, known as S-1s (or S-3, in Grayscale’s case). These documents include information such as authorized participants for the funds, as well as planned fees.

“Broadly speaking, if the commission declares a registration statement effective, that is reflected on EDGAR,” a representative for the SEC told Blockworks on Friday. “Any commission 19b-4 orders will be posted on our website and then published in the Federal Register.”

The representative added that the agency doesn’t comment on individual filings.

BlackRock and Fidelity said in Dec. 29 filings they intend to use Jane Street and JPMorgan Securities as authorized participants, or APs.

Read more: Fees, seeds and APs: What we know — and don’t know — about the planned bitcoin ETFs

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Eric Balchunas reported on Friday that the companies were asked to file S-1s on Monday of next week, per sources. 

Grayscale’s APs remain unknown, according to current filings. CEO Michael Sonnenshein alluded in a post on X last week that the company has had APs lined up “since 2017,” linking to a media report stating the firm planned to tap Jane Street and Virtu Securities. 

An updated S-3 from Grayscale — filed earlier this week — didn’t disclose the firm’s APs.

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