The long-awaited approval of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the U.S. may still be on track for the near future, according to analysts eyeing the SEC’s actions.
ETF expert Nate Geraci points out that a brief window has opened where the Securities Exchange Commission could issue initial approval orders for bitcoin ETF rule changes. These 19b-4 approvals are required before any Bitcoin ETFs can be listed for trading.
While the SEC wouldn’t launch any ETFs now, issuing the orders in batches would signal eventual approval and prevent perceptions of favoritism, Geraci explains. This window closes on November 17th, when new filings enter public comment, preventing inclusion in early approvals.
Bitcoin ETF analysts eye January
Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart agrees the SEC seems poised to approve spot bitcoin ETFs jointly. However, he believes final approval is more likely in January than in the current period.
Seyffart notes that even after the preliminary 19b-4 OK, separate filings like the S-1 remain necessary before ETF shares can actually be issued and listed. The two-step process means approvals now may not equate to immediate ETF trading.
Nonetheless, many expect batch approvals as the SEC warms up to bitcoin ETFs amid broader crypto adoption. Multiple asset managers have filed for spot bitcoin ETFs in recent years, but all were either rejected or withdrawn.
Approving several together would let the SEC embrace the product while avoiding perceptions of unfairly backing one provider over others. The regulator has stressed the potential manipulation and custody risks of bitcoin ETFs.
But with futures-based crypto funds already trading, the SEC is under growing pressure to sanction spot bitcoin equivalents. Firms like Grayscale have converted existing trusts to ETF applications to streamline approvals.
After years of denials, the groundswell of filings and maturation of custodial solutions appear to be swaying the SEC. But the exact timeline remains uncertain, despite analyst predictions.
Many expect 2023 to finally be the year bitcoin ETFs hit the U.S. market after Canada and other jurisdictions approved them. But as Seyffart notes, the multi-step path means initial approvals may only signal the final stretch, not the immediate launch many investors eagerly await.