‘Clear runway’ opens for all Bitcoin ETF approvals in Jan — Analysts

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Bit­coin (BTC) spot exchange-trad­ed funds (ETFs) in the Unit­ed States now have a “clear run­way” to poten­tial simul­ta­ne­ous approvals after an advanced deci­sion to delay the bids of Franklin Tem­ple­ton and Hashdex ETFs, accord­ing to analysts.

In a Nov. 28 X (for­mer­ly Twit­ter) post, Bloomberg ETF ana­lyst James Seyf­fart said the Unit­ed States Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion (SEC) delayed its deci­sion on the appli­ca­tions 34 days ear­li­er than the Jan. 1, 2024, deci­sion deadline.

The SEC request­ed com­ments on forms by Franklin Tem­ple­ton and Hashdex that are nec­es­sary for the ETFs to even­tu­al­ly be list­ed and start trad­ing. The com­ment and rebut­tal peri­od will last 35 days.

Seyf­fart and his col­league Eric Balchu­nas had placed 90% odds on spot Bit­coin ETF approvals by Jan. 10, 2024, and the twin delays “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,” Seyf­fart said.

Balchu­nas agreed, post­ing to X that the SEC was “prob look­ing to get them out of the way, clear runway.”

Com­mer­cial lit­i­ga­tor Joe Car­lasare thinks the delays increase the prob­a­bil­i­ty of a March 2024 approval, as the com­ment peri­od for Franklin’s ETF bid was extend­ed until Jan. 3, 2024, and the SEC typ­i­cal­ly takes a max­i­mum of three weeks to review comments.

“Jan­u­ary is still like­ly the favorite though,” he added, lat­er esti­mat­ing it to hap­pen on Jan. 5 or Jan. 8. 

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On Nov. 28, Franklin also sub­mit­ted an updat­ed Form S‑1 for its ETF — a doc­u­ment reg­is­ter­ing secu­ri­ties with the SEC — after Seyf­fart had ear­li­er high­light­ed that it was the only bid­der yet to sub­mit an updat­ed prospectus.

React­ing to the fil­ing, Balchu­nas said while he’s in favor of let­ting all ETFs launch simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, it “seems kin­da unfair” that Franklin might be allowed to launch its ETF the same day as oth­er providers despite sub­mit­ting the form months later.

There are cur­rent­ly 12 spot Bit­coin ETFs before the SEC, includ­ing bids from Grayscale and Black­Rock. Most have final deci­sion dates in March, besides ARK Invest’s bid, which the SEC must approve or deny by Jan. 10, 2024.

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