An early dismissal of BlackRock’s planned spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) should not deter its eventual success, according to statements from Nasdaq executive Giang Bui on September 13th. BlackRock filed an application for a spot Bitcoin ETF on June 15th, with Nasdaq responsible for filing the proposed rule changes needed to list the product. However, on June 30th, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) declared the filing inadequate, leading to its early rejection. It is essential to note that this rejection primarily addresses regulatory procedural issues rather than the substance or viability of the product.

Contrary to popular belief, the early rejections experienced by BlackRock and other applicants may not necessarily indicate a bleak outlook. According to Giang Bui, Nasdaq’s Head of U.S. Equities & ETPs, the first rejection occurs within seven business days after filing Form 19-b4 if the SEC determines non-compliance with form-related rules. Essentially, this initial rejection is procedural and does not reflect the product’s viability. It provides an opportunity for the applicants to make necessary adjustments and refile their applications.

Following the initial rejection, Nasdaq and other applicants promptly filed updates for various ETF applications, with Coinbase explicitly listed as a surveillance-sharing agreement partner. While uncommon, this move aimed to strengthen Nasdaq’s filing. BlackRock’s proposed spot Bitcoin ETF is not the only application of its kind, as Nasdaq is also handling a similar proposal from Valkyrie Investments. Additionally, other asset management firms, including Ark Invest, VanEck, WisdomTree, Invesco, and Fidelity, have entrusted their ETF proposals to Cboe. These proposals share many similarities and describe a surveillance-sharing agreement with Coinbase.

Beyond the aforementioned proposals, Grayscale has a unique approach. It aims to transform its existing GBTC fund into a spot Bitcoin ETF. Regarding Grayscale’s proposal and its recent legal victory, Bui noted that Nasdaq is currently analyzing the implications for their own filings. This demonstrates the active and dynamic nature of the ETF landscape, with market participants actively exploring various avenues to offer investors exposure to the digital asset space.

In late August, the SEC postponed its decision on most of the spot Bitcoin ETFs mentioned above. The regulatory body is now expected to reach a conclusion on certain filings in October. This delay emphasizes the SEC’s cautious approach to approving new financial products in the cryptocurrency industry, as they carefully consider the potential risks and investor protection measures.

While an early rejection may initially raise concerns, it is crucial to understand the nature of such rejections and their impact on the potential viability of spot Bitcoin ETFs. Nasdaq executive Giang Bui’s statements reveal that rejection at the initial stage is more procedural than indicative of the long-term success of these products. The ongoing updates, partnerships with Coinbase, and innovative proposals like Grayscale’s further illustrate the determination of market participants to meet the growing demand for regulated cryptocurrency investment vehicles. Ultimately, the October decisions by the SEC will provide more clarity on the future of spot Bitcoin ETFs and their potential to revolutionize the digital asset landscape.

Regulation

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