In a groundbreaking development, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finds itself in a unique position to greenlight all 12 pending spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications within a concise eight-day timeframe spanning from November 9 to November 17.
This opportunity emerged when the SEC issued simultaneous delay orders for well-known entities like VanEck, WisdomTree, Invesco, Fidelity, Valkyrie, BlackRock, and Bitwise, condensing the approval period for all 12 submissions, including Grayscale’s conversion of their GBTC trust product.
The origins of this window date back to the SEC’s decision to extend the deadline for multiple pending spot Bitcoin ETF filings, culminating in November 8 as the final day of the comment period. However, for three specific applications — Hashdex Bitcoin ETF, Global X Bitcoin Trust, and Franklin Bitcoin ETF — the comment period will reopen on November 17.
Consequently, these particular applications may not receive a verdict until at least November 23. Although the window for accepting all 12 filings closes on November 17, there is a possibility that the SEC might reach a decision on nine of the twelve applications before January 10.
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Despite the widespread anticipation surrounding the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF, there are no certainties. Nevertheless, both Bloomberg ETF analysts James Seyffart and Eric Balchunas foresee a 90% chance of approval before January 10 next year.
Market observers are anxiously awaiting the SEC’s decision, particularly Grayscale, a leading crypto asset manager, which has been engaging in discussions with the regulator regarding its application to convert its trust product GBTC into a spot Bitcoin ETF.
The potential approval of a Bitcoin ETF has injected optimism into the crypto market, triggering a surge of over 30% in Bitcoin’s price over the last three months. This upward momentum has also positively influenced other major assets such as Solana (SOL), Ripple (XRP), and Ether (ETH), all of which experienced significant growth in the past month. However, industry opinions diverge; while many are confident that approval could herald the next bull market, some analysts remain skeptical about the sustainability of this upward trajectory.
Gemini’s Travel Rule Sparks Regulatory Concerns
In a related development, Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange, has announced its intention to comply with the UK’s controversial Travel Rule concerning cryptocurrencies. These regulations, set to be enforced on November 17, aim to restrict outbound bitcoin transactions to a specific list of 58 virtual asset service providers (VASPs) registered under the Travel Rule Universal Solution Technology (TRUST).
This move has raised concerns among experts, including an analyst from Trezor, who views it as a troubling step toward excessive regulation. The analyst has criticized the restrictions, arguing that they infringe upon the fundamental principles of user freedom, privacy, and self-sovereignty that Bitcoin stands for.
The Travel Rule, established in June 2019 by the United Nations agency Financial Action Task Force, mandates VASPs and other financial institutions to disclose information about virtual asset senders and recipients.
The United Kingdom passed legislation in July 2022 to enforce the Travel Rule, which became effective in September. Despite these regulations, certain major VASPs such as Coinbase, Binance US, Circle, Kraken, Fidelity Digital Assets, and PayPal are not prohibited from conducting transactions with Gemini U.K. users, highlighting the intricate regulatory landscape within the cryptocurrency industry.