BlackRock, VanEck and Ark Invest/21Shares have already filed amended S-1 applications for their prospective spot Bitcoin ETFs, after the SEC issued a set of additional comments on their filings on Monday evening. Grayscale also issued an amended S-3 registration document to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an ETF.
According to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Eric Balchunas, it was not immediately clear what the changes in the updated filings were. But the speed with which the issuers responded to the SEC’s comments indicated a priority on securing approvals as soon as possible.
BlackRock just re-filed their S-1 based on last min comments given yesterday. Hard to tell what has changed at first glance, but imp thing is that the unheard of 24hr turnaround time bt filing, comments and re-filing tells us all parties aiming to get this show on road pronto. pic.twitter.com/61cPtGJ4Oy
— Eric Balchunas (@EricBalchunas) January 9, 2024
In a podcast with Unchained this week, Balchunas said he expected final approvals to be made on Wednesday and for the funds to start trading on Thursday.
A Positive Development?
The SEC issued its additional comments on Monday evening after major contenders for a potential spot Bitcoin ETF unveiled their proposed fee structures for their funds earlier in the day.
The news of the commentary on the pending S-1 applications was first made public on X by Perianne Boring, founder of The Chamber of Digital Commerce, who suggested that it may be a “delay signal.”
However, Bloomberg Intelligence ETF analyst James Seyyffart views the regulator’s swift response as more of a positive development, saying that it was “borderline unheard of” to receive comments from the regulator on the same day.
Really this just shows how quickly the SEC is turning these things around. Borderline unheard of to send over a document to the SEC in the morning and get comments back the same day (I think)
If they wanted to delay — the issuers wouldn't have gotten comments back tonight
— James Seyffart (@JSeyff) January 9, 2024
“Yes, it’s unheard of. And to remind everyone, S-1s do not NEED to be complete when 19b-4s are approved,” tweeted Scott Johnsson, a general partner at Van Buren Capital.
“More than anything, these quick comments demonstrate SEC working to push everything forward for a quick approval and launch (vs what we saw with futures).”
Jan. 10 Deadline
The SEC must take a decision on whether it will approve or deny the Ark 21 Shares spot Bitcoin ETF application by Jan. 10, and will likely approve other existing applications that it deems fit by that date.
The run up to the ETF deadline has market participants on the edge of their seats, with interpretations of every piece of new information sending the price of Bitcoin higher and lower. At the time of writing, Bitcoin was trading at $46,933, up 6.81% in the last 24 hours.
In a tweet that has since been deleted, Fox Business reporter Eleanor Terrett said that a five-member SEC committee could still delay the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF. Notably, former SEC official John Reed Stark, a known crypto critic, said that these SEC closed-door meetings would be incredibly difficult to handicap.
“Based on the reports of all the ETF-related meetings and consultations, if those reports are true, it seems like a Bitcoin Spot ETF of some iteration is likely,” wrote Stark on X.
“Additionally, based on the thread posted today by Chair Gensler, which sounded a lot like an SEC Investor Alert pertaining to microcap stocks, penny stocks, options, high-yield investment programs, etc., it seems to me that the Commission has capitulated and is going to approve — and will simply let the chips fall where they may.”
Former SEC Chair Jay Clayton also told CNBC in a Jan. 8 interview that the approval was “inevitable” and there was nothing left for the commission to decide.
UPDATE (Jan. 9 10:21 a.m. ET): Added information about BlackRock, VanEck, and ArkInvest/21Shares filing amended S1 applications.
UPDATE (Jan. 9 10:32 a.m. ET): Added information about Grayscale’s amended S3 application.