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Another Round of Bitcoin Spot ETF Rejections Likely: BitGo CEO

Jimmy Aki
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: BitGo/Canva

The general belief amongst market experts is that a Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) approval is on the horizon following Grayscale’s significant legal victory against the SEC.

However, BitGo’s CEO, Mike Belshe, feels otherwise.

Making his opinion known in a Bloomberg Crypto interview, Belshe noted that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) might end up rejecting a number of spot Bitcoin ETF applications before approvals begin to stream in.

Providing the reason for his pessimistic view, the BitGo Chief explained that there is an apparent lack of separation between crypto exchanges and custodial service providers.

He highlighted the example of Coinbase, which has been selected by a number of ETF applicants as their custodial partner.

Asset management firms like BlackRock and Valkyrie have chosen the popular crypto exchange as their Bitcoin custodians.

According to Belshe, the traditional financial landscape often separates exchanges from custodians, and the fact that most applicants are not adhering to this age-long market practice could see their efforts go uncompensated.

Hence, the SEC would require all spot Bitcoin ETF applicants to separate the exchanges from the custodial services before any meaningful step forward can be made.

The financial market has witnessed a surge in interest in Bitcoin spot ETFs in recent months, with major players such as BlackRock, Valkyrie, WisdomTree, Grayscale, Fidelity, and Ark Invest seeking regulatory approval from the SEC.

While the SEC has been reluctant, citing concerns about market manipulation and customer protection, financial market analysts are growing more optimistic about a favorable ruling in the coming weeks.

According to Bloomberg’s ETF analyst James Seyffart, a spot Bitcoin ETF approval has a 90% chance of being approved in January 2024.

BlackRock Files S-1 Form for Spot Ethereum ETF

While Bitcoin often takes the spotlight, the Ethereum smart contract network, its close competitor, is also attracting attention from major asset management firms, including BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm.

According to an S-1 form filed with the SEC, BlackRock has notified the US agency of its intentions to provide investors access to the performance of the price of Ether – the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain.

Called the iShares Ethereum Trust, investors will be able to track the price performance of Ethereum without directly owning the underlying asset.

This allows for optimum flexibility and removes the need to store the digital asset.

Speaking on its custodial partner, BlackRock highlighted that the Coinbase exchange would handle this aspect just like it does for its spot Bitcoin ETF.

BlackRock’s official filing is the first step in the ETF approval process.

Subsequent stages will involve the $10 trillion asset manager seeking approval from the Trading and Markets Division of the SEC for its 19b-4 filing, as well as the Corporate Finance division on its S-1 filing or prospectus.