Gensler says SEC is reviewing Grayscale ruling, spot bitcoin ETF applications

Quick Take

  • SEC Chair Gary Gensler said the agency is still reviewing a court’s ruling in the ongoing Grayscale case, as well as “multiple filings around bitcoin exchange-traded products.”

Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler told lawmakers that he is still reviewing a court's decision that gave Grayscale Investments a recent win in its push for a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund. 

In a Tuesday Senate Banking Committee hearing, Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., questioned Gensler what the agency needed to see in a filing to approve a spot bitcoin ETF.

"What questions do you still need answered from issuers about the market and/or market infrastructure in order to allow this to happen?" the lawmaker asked.

Gensler said his agency was still reviewing the Grayscale decision, as well as "multiple filings around bitcoin exchange-traded products."

An influential decision 

Three judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in August that the SEC has to re-review Grayscale's bid for a spot bitcoin ETF after the asset management firm sued the agency last year following the rejection of its plan for the conversion of its flagship GBTC fund. The court specifically addressed the SEC's differential treatment of spot bitcoin ETFs and similar funds based on futures contracts, which the regulator has approved. 


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Gensler's latest statement came as multiple firms have filed for spot bitcoin ETFs, including BlackRock and Fidelity. Some experts say the Grayscale court decision could tip a decision into their favor. 

Grayscale sent a letter to the SEC last week asking to meet with the agency and urging it to approve of its spot bitcoin ETF. 

 "We hope you will agree that the best use of resources now is for the Commission to issue an order approving NYSE Arca’s Rule 19b-4 filing and authorize the staff to work with Grayscale and NYSE Arca to finalize the prompt listing of the Trust’s shares," lawyers for Grayscale said the letter

The SEC still has time to request an en banc hearing, meaning a rehearing with all three judges. After 45 days, the court will issue a final mandate that will have details on what happens next. The agency could also seek review of the D.C. Circuit’s decision in the Supreme Court. 

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Sarah is a reporter at The Block covering policy, regulation and legal happenings. Before, Sarah was a reporter with CQ Legal writing about securities regulation, which is where she first started reporting on crypto. Sarah has also written for The Bond Buyer and American Banker, among other finance-related publications. She graduated from the University of Missouri and earned a degree in print and digital journalism. Sarah is based in Washington D.C., and is an avid coffee lover. You can follow her on Twitter @ForTheWynn.


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