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SEC Chair Gary Gensler Hints at Possible Approval of Spot Bitcoin ETF Applications

In a recent interview with CNBC, Gary Gensler, the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), hinted at a potential shift in the regulatory stance regarding spot Bitcoin ETF applications. The discussion, held on Dec. 14, shed light on the SEC’s reconsideration of these applications following recent court rulings and engagements with ETF applicants.

Gensler revealed that the SEC currently has “between eight and a dozen” spot Bitcoin ETF filings under review. Notably, the agency had previously denied similar applications, but Gensler acknowledged that recent court decisions, particularly one involving Grayscale Investments, have prompted a fresh evaluation of these proposals.

The pivotal Grayscale ruling earlier in 2023 secured the right for the SEC to reexamine an application seeking to convert Grayscale’s GBTC fund into a spot Bitcoin ETF. Sara Eisen, the CNBC anchor, pointed out the market’s optimism surrounding the Grayscale ruling, suggesting that it might signal a turning point for the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF. However, Gensler refrained from providing a concrete prediction, emphasizing his role as chair not to prejudge any outcomes.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler

The SEC’s interactions with ETF applicants and the amendments made to filings during comment periods have contributed to growing optimism among market participants. Recent meetings between the SEC and various ETF applicants, coupled with amendments submitted during the comment periods, have fueled expectations of a positive shift in the SEC’s approach.

Eric Balchunas and James Seyffart, ETF analysts at Bloomberg, have estimated a significant 90% likelihood of the SEC approving a spot Bitcoin ETF by Jan. 10, 2024. Their assessment aligns with the optimistic sentiment permeating the market and the ongoing developments in discussions between the SEC and applicants.

The SEC’s reconsideration, prompted by legal judgments and revised applications, marks a potential milestone in the journey toward approving a spot Bitcoin ETF. However, Gensler’s cautious approach and commitment not to prejudge the outcome emphasize the careful deliberation and regulatory scrutiny surrounding these applications.

The anticipation surrounding a potential spot Bitcoin ETF approval continues to fuel speculation within the crypto market and traditional finance sectors. As the SEC navigates this evolving landscape, market observers remain watchful for further developments and potential announcements that could shape the future of crypto-related investment products in the U.S.

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