Grayscale's victory brings benefits, but challenges remain
Last night, the Bitcoin market experienced a 6% surge within minutes, and investors seemed excited about Grayscale's victory in the lawsuit with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, this win for Grayscale does not imply an immediate conversion of GBTC into an ETF, and the launch of a Bitcoin spot ETF still faces many challenges.
In June of last year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected Grayscale's application to convert GBTC into a Bitcoin spot ETF, citing concerns related to "preventing fraud and manipulative practices." Subsequently, Grayscale filed a lawsuit against the SEC. Even though the SEC lost the lawsuit, the court did not order the SEC to approve Grayscale's ETF proposal but rather stated that the SEC's analysis of fraud and manipulation issues was flawed, thus requiring a reevaluation of Grayscale's application.
According to the court's decision, the SEC has three options: to delay the decision and provide new reasons for rejection, to acknowledge and approve Grayscale's ETF, or to appeal the case. The next steps involve a series of lengthy procedures, including a 45-day appeal period, and if the SEC decides to take action, they can also request a full hearing.
So, what actions can the SEC take? Assuming the SEC intends to hinder the process, they can arbitrarily choose another different reason to reject Grayscale's proposal, which would force Grayscale into a longer and more expensive legal battle. Another possibility is that the SEC could use the court's decision as an excuse to withdraw its opposition to the ETF. "We disagree, but we follow the law" would be the most reasonable defense in a failed battle and the most desired outcome for cryptocurrency investors worldwide.
While the cryptocurrency community views the SEC as an adversary, the author is concerned that the liquidity of the cryptocurrency market itself poses another challenge for a spot ETF. Currently, the liquidity in the Bitcoin market is poor, and launching a spot ETF at this stage could result in a significant price discrepancy between the ETF and the spot market. This would affect the willingness of traditional investors to enter the market, and the worst-case scenario would be a scenario where the spot ETF fails to attract new funds. In that case, the anticipated positive news would be shattered, leading to more negative impacts on the cryptocurrency market.
The author believes that this legal victory has indeed brought positive news to the market, but we should not be overly optimistic. Bitcoin spot ETFs face numerous variables and challenges, and there is still a long way to go.