Gensler says SEC is taking ‘new look’ at spot bitcoin ETF proposals

In an interview with CNBC, Gary Gensler said that the Grayscale court ruling pushed the SEC to take a ‘new look’ at bitcoin ETF proposals


Is US Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler changing his tune?

In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Gensler said that the SEC is considering “between eight and a dozen filings” for a spot bitcoin ETF. (Most recently, Pando joined the race, marking 13 proposals for the SEC to field.) 

But in discussing the filings, he alluded to the SEC’s history of denials of these types of proposals. 

“We had in the past denied a number of these applications, but the courts here in the District of Columbia weighed in on that. And so we’re taking a new look at this based upon those court rulings,” Gensler said

Read more: Spot bitcoin ETF market sees new applicant ahead of SEC ruling

When asked if he was directly alluding to the Grayscale ruling, Gensler skirted the answer and said that the SEC does everything “within the laws Congress has passed and how the courts interpret them.”

While the SEC has open cases against Binance and Coinbase, it seems that he was alluding to Grayscale. Earlier this year, Grayscale notched a win against the regulatory agency after a panel of judges sided with the crypto-focused asset manager and ordered the SEC to take another look at its application to convert its bitcoin trust (GBTC) to an ETF. 

The regulator had the option to appeal the decision earlier this year, but opted not to.

The SEC then took the application back under review, and since then it’s held talks with the asset manager, according to Bloomberg’s ETF analysts James Seyffart and Eric Balchunas. 

Read more: Lucky 13? Where spot bitcoin ETF proposals stand ahead of judgment day

Grayscale itself said that it would be “working collaboratively and expeditiously with the SEC” to achieve the regulatory approval needed.

A potential Grayscale ETF would join other applicants in the race to get a bitcoin ETF out the door. Even traditional asset managers like BlackRock have tossed its hat in the ring, hoping to be one of the first. 

At this point, there’s a lot of optimism around the ETF decision, with Seyffart narrowing down a timetable for a potential decision. The SEC has until January 10 to make a decision on Ark and 21Shares’ proposal, meaning that the window is centered around the days leading up.

As for the hope, Bloomberg analysts peg the chances of an approval by the January date to sit around 90%. Though some, notably ex-SEC staffer John Reed Stark, think that such a high likelihood is “absurd.”

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