Private Wealth Firm Bernstein Says Grayscale Win Against The SEC Increases Odds For ETF Approval

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Wealth management firm Bernstein has said that the recent Grayscale victory over the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will pave the way for a spot Bitcoin (BTC) ETF approval.

In a research report released on Aug. 29, the broker noted that the win marks the second huge victory for the industry following Ripple’s partial win last month.

Per the report, “this victory clears the path for a spot BTC ETF,” after multiple rejections by the SEC citing market manipulation concerns.

Bernstein analyst Gautam Chhugani opined that the ratio for the decision opens up a new lifeline for open ETF applications as their potential date for review nears.

Grayscale filed a lawsuit against the SEC over its rejection to convert the firm’s GBTC product to a spot ETF. The crux of Grayscale’s argument hinged on the SEC approval of a futures BTC ETF on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. 

The court set aside the Commission’s rejection because it did not offer an adequate distinction between both products (the spot and future ETFs) since both can work in the same process as the plaintiff argued. 

… We agree. The denial of Grayscale’s proposal was arbitrary and capricious because the Commission failed to explain its different treatment of similar products. We therefore grant Grayscale’s petition to vacate the order.”

With more than half a dozen spot Bitcoin ETF applications pending review, it gives a huge relief following previous rejections amid tough regulatory hurdles.

Experts share dissenting opinion

Although Bernstein noted that the approval will not be automatic, the digital asset community has been in a frenzy since the decision. 

A major reason the approval of a spot BTC ETF has the attention of bulls is its likely effect on the market. The price of Bitcoin soared above $31,000 following multiple applications by institutional giants led by BlackRock. 

Bernstein also projected the impact of a spot ETF to hit 10% of Bitcoin’s market cap in three years alongside fresh liquidity on the back of renewed institutional investment in the sector. 

Observers have opined that although the judgement of the US court is favourable, approval may still be miles away because the SEC still has a right to reject it.

Per the court order, the Commission’s previous order has been vacated with the SEC meant to review the application and provide distinctions between a future and spot ETF both leveraging on the CME.

In effect, the SEC has a 45-day right to appeal the decision. It can also opt to review the application and reject it based on other grounds. 

Overall, although the buck stops at the SEC, massive wins like the cases against Ripple and Grayscale help shape the regulatory framework for a favourable review process. 


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