A lawyer working for Grayscale Investments asked to meet with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
"as soon as practical" in a Tuesday letter that prodded the regulator to approve the conversion of Grayscale’s bitcoin trust into a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund.
The attorney from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP asked for the meeting to "discuss the way forward" following a critical decision last month from a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals that injected a new wave of optimism into crypto markets.
The judges concluded that the SEC was "arbitrary and capricious" when it denied Grayscale's conversion application in 2022 after previously approving ETF products that held bitcoin futures contracts.
A spot bitcoin ETF would allow investors to get exposure to the world’s largest cryptocurrency without having to own it, possibly expanding mainstream acceptance of digital assets.
In the hours following the court decision, bitcoin rose 8% and briefly touched $28,000. But within 48 hours bitcoin (BTC-USD) gave back those gains and the rally soon fizzled.
In the last 24 hours bitcoin has fallen slightly, trading below $26,000 by Tuesday afternoon. It is down 1% over the past week.
There is no guarantee the SEC will act in a way favorable to Grayscale following the court ruling, which only requires the SEC to review Grayscale's application, not to approve it. The SEC has until mid-October to request a re-hearing of the case. It has said it is reviewing the decision.
"We must not get too excited, too carried away," Ric Edelman, founder of the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals, told Yahoo Finance on Tuesday. "The court did not order the SEC to approve these ETFs. The court merely said that its rejection of Grayscale's application was inappropriate."
Last week Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein said in an interview with Yahoo Finance that "we have to be a little bit patient."
Michael Sonnenshein, CEO of Grayscale, in 2022. (Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Tuesday’s letter from his firm’s attorney applied more urgency, arguing that any further delay would harm investors.
"We believe the trust’s nearly one million investors deserve this fair playing field as quickly as possible," wrote Joseph Hall of Davis Polk.
Grayscale bitcoin trust
(GBTC) is the largest trust holder of bitcoin in the world. It trades at an 18% discount to the performance of bitcoin, according to YCharts.
The SEC can approve Grayscale’s ETF application, offer another argument for why it will not approve the application, or even revoke listings for the bitcoin futures ETFs it has already approved, Edelman said.
Revoking the current futures ETF products "would be shocking," he added, noting that "no one is expecting it."