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Bitcoin ETF Decision Dates Approach: What to Expect in January

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Image by Parradee, Adobe Stock

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s move to start a public comment period for spot Bitcoin (BTC) ETF applications earlier than expected has stirred up optimism around the launch of these products. 

On November 28, the SEC published filings instituting proceedings to receive public feedback on the proposed Franklin Bitcoin ETF and Hashdex Bitcoin Futures ETF funds.

The move, according to analysts, signals a potential acceleration of the SEC’s timeline for approving an anticipated “spotcoin” ETF.

Typically, the SEC has 240 days to approve or deny an ETF filing and is required to provide updates on its decision at specified intervals. 

Franklin Templeton’s application was not due for a decision until January 1. 

However, by opening the public comment period earlier, the SEC may be indicating its intention to expedite the approval process for spotcoin ETFs.

Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart noted on X that the SEC’s decision to initiate a comment period for Hashdex “all but confirms for me that this was likely a move to line every applicant up for potential approval by the Jan. 10, 2024 deadline.”

Scott Johnsson, a finance lawyer, agreed that the SEC filings suggest the regulator is preparing to approve the funds around Jan. 10.

“Really the only way it makes sense,” he tweeted. “Pretty sure we can lock this one up.”

Franklin Templeton, a firm with approximately $1.5 trillion in assets under management, initially filed for a spot bitcoin ETF in October. 

However, its filing faced a delay on November 15. 

On November 29, Franklin Templeton amended its prospectus, stating that it had addressed the SEC’s questions and concerns regarding its application.

SEC Expected to Approve Spot Bitcoin ETFs

The SEC has historically denied or delayed spotcoin ETFs due to concerns over market manipulation and investor protection. 

However, following a landmark lawsuit loss to Grayscale Investments in August, the agency began collaborating more closely with a dozen firms to explore the possibility of bringing such funds to the market. 

Many industry participants, including Cathie Wood of ARK Invest, believe that the SEC will approve multiple applications simultaneously to prevent any single firm from gaining a first-mover advantage.

Analysts at financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald also believe the long-awaited spot BTC ETF is inching closer to reality.

The company, known for its prime brokerage and investment banking services, has grown confident in the approval of applications from asset managers seeking to launch a spot ETF for Bitcoin.

Currently, the SEC is evaluating 13 applications for spot BTC ETFs. 

However, the most recent application by Swiss-based Pando Asset, submitted just two days ago, is unlikely to be considered alongside the earlier submissions. 

It is worth noting that the optimism around the launch of a spot Bitcoin ETF has fueled the recent rally in crypto markets, which saw the flagship cryptocurrency reach as high as $38,000.