Perianne Boring is the Founder and CEO of the Chamber of Digital Commerce. In this interview, we discuss the history of Bitcoin spot ETF proposals, the numerous rejections and changing conditions for approval, and why the SEC won’t approve a Bitcoin spot ETF.
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The first application for a Bitcoin spot ETF in the US was made by the Winklevoss brothers back in 2013. The SEC rejected this proposal in 2017. Since then the SEC has rejected applications from at least 16 different companies, some of whom have made multiple applications. The last rejection was in early October.
It’s not that the SEC dislikes ETFs. There are over 2,500 ETFs in the US market with over $7.2 trillion AUM. Further, there is also strong demand in the market: over 99% of the 11,400 letters sent to the SEC in relation to Grayscale’s ETC application were in support. In the meantime, Bitcoin spot ETFs are being approved across the world, most notably across the border in Canada.
The Chamber of Digital Commerce, the blockchain trade association, has assessed the history of Bitcoin spot ETF applications accounted for in a report. This outlines major inconsistencies in the way the SEC treats applications: denials have conditions applied for subsequent applications; these conditions are met, the new applications are denied; rinse and repeat.
In addition, in 2021 the SEC approved the first US Bitcoin futures ETF. Whilst the performance of the Bitcoin futures ETF has tracked the Bitcoin price reasonably closely, futures markets are by their very nature volatile as futures contracts can be unpredictable. So, it is potentially a less safe vehicle for investment.
The obvious question is, therefore: why won’t the SEC approve a Bitcoin spot ETF? Perianne Boring, the CEO of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, is of the opinion the decision is political in nature. There is a wave of money waiting to invest in such an ETF, which would accelerate the adoption of Bitcoin. This is something many decision-makers are resistant to. What’s clear is that with Grayscale suing the SEC the issue is coming to a head.