In a rush towards approval, BlackRock, VanEck, and other applicants have swiftly responded to recent comments from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by amending their Bitcoin Spot ETF proposals. The back-and-forth cooperation between the SEC and the applicants is unheard of and analysts are worrying that its latest flurry of comments may cause a delay.
However, this is unlikely as the SEC has a soft deadline of January 10th for its decision, handed down by a federal judge. Technically, the SEC only has to approve or deny one of the applications by Ark and 21 Shares by the 10th, though it’s likely it will hand down decisions for all spot BTC ETF applications in the spirit of fairness.
Firms Quick-Fire Updated S-1 Forms to Address Recent SEC Comments
BlackRock and VanEck have taken decisive action by filing amended S-1 forms for their spot Bitcoin ETF proposals.
The swift response to recent comments from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) underscores the urgency and importance of obtaining approval for these financial products – with markets anticipating a decision this week.
Officials at the SEC had set a Monday deadline for applicants to submit amended forms, and upon receiving these updated documents, the Commission provided comments, which were reportedly minor in nature.
These comments focused on the expected ETFs from the applicants, the amended forms now reflect several changes, including specifics on how to handle scenarios in which a counterparty or authorized participant becomes insolvent, thus addressing potential conflicts of interest.
Additionally, the updated forms include cautionary statements for potential investors, warning them about possible liquidity challenges.
Will SEC’s Comments Delay Bitcoin Spot ETF Approval?
While some observers and analysts speculated that the SEC’s inundation of comments could be a delay tactic, others disagreed.
Critics of this theory argue that the speed at which the SEC reviewed the filings and issued comments suggests a genuine interest in approving spot Bitcoin ETFs.
This perspective is shared by experts like Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart and Van Buren Capital General Partner Scott Johnsson – they believe that fine-tuning the details in the S-1 forms may not significantly impact the approval process of 19b-4s.
Other recent amendments to the S-1 forms shed light on fee structures, a crucial aspect of these ETFs, as different issuers have proposed varying fee schedules.
For example, Bitwise plans to charge no fees for the first six months or until assets reach $1 billion, after which a 0.24% fee applies.
Similarly, Ark/21Shares will follow suit but with a 0.25% fee after the initial six months or upon reaching $1 billion in assets.
BlackRock, on the other hand, has set a 0.2% fee for the first 12 months or until assets reach $5 billion, with a subsequent increase to 0.3%.
However, experts like Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas suggest that fee waivers may not have a significant impact on investor behavior.
BlackRock just re-filed their S-1 based on last min comments given yesterday. Hard to tell what has changed at first glance, but imp thing is that the unheard of 24hr turnaround time bt filing, comments and re-filing tells us all parties aiming to get this show on road pronto. pic.twitter.com/61cPtGJ4Oy
— Eric Balchunas (@EricBalchunas) January 9, 2024
Historically, investors tend to focus more on regular fees rather than initial fee waivers or low starting figures.
The SEC Must Make a Decision Soon
No matter what the SEC decides, it will have to make a decision one way or the other soon. It’s possible that they could find some reason to kick the can down the road but it may face a legal battle if it doesn’t meet its Wednesday deadline.
The SEC’s urgency, coupled with the rapid response from prospective ETF issuers, suggests that the traditional market is eager to embrace spot Bitcoin ETFs and incorporate them into the conventional financial landscape.
All eyes are on the SEC as the cryptocurrency community eagerly awaits its decision, which will likely mark a significant milestone in the adoption of digital assets in traditional finance.