Industry watchers pin down possible bitcoin ETF approval dates

Recent SEC filings suggest the regulator could be lining up the approval of multiple proposals in early January, segment observers argue


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Some industry watchers argue that the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs may occur within a three-day period in January, based on recent moves by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Seyffart said in a Friday X post the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs — should the SEC choose to change its decade-long stance by greenlighting such products — could come between Jan. 8 and Jan. 10. 

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Those following spot bitcoin ETF developments have looked ahead to Jan. 10 — the deadline for the SEC to rule on a proposal by Ark Invest and 21Shares

An approval order could come before this date. But some believe the SEC would allow a bunch of bitcoin ETFs to launch at once, meaning the regulator could wait for the comment periods for other competing proposals to conclude. 

The SEC is collecting public feedback for the proposed spot bitcoin ETFs by Franklin Templeton and Hashdex until Jan. 5, filings show. 

The regulator said in a Tuesday disclosure it had chosen to “institute proceedings” to determine whether to approve or deny the Franklin Bitcoin ETF. It filed a separate order seeking comments on the Hashdex product the same day. 

These filings to move along the proposal process for these ETFs came earlier than expected.

The SEC’s “quicker turnaround than usual” indicates it might be looking to line up a bunch of approvals at once, after that period ends on Jan. 5, Van Buren Capital general partner Scott Johnsson said in a Thursday X post.  

Read more: SEC should ‘stop picking winners’: VanEck exec

Because the regulator would not file spot bitcoin ETF approvals on the weekend, Johnsson noted, the timeframe between Jan. 8 and Jan. 10 would make sense. 

“[Five] days not a lot of time to review comments,” Johnsson added in a separate post. “There’s a good chance there won’t be any unique comments to work through anyway. And worst case they just get the approval shortly after the first cohort.”

The SEC could still choose to deny the current swathe of spot bitcoin ETF proposals, which include planned products by BlackRock, Fidelity, Invesco and others.

A spokesperson for the regulator has declined to comment on this matter.    

Bloomberg Intelligence analysts have said they believe there is a 90% chance the SEC will approve these funds by Jan. 10, citing Grayscale Investments’ August court win against the regulator and issuers’ ongoing dialogue with the agency.

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