A US federal appeals court has sided with an asset manager in a lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after the regulator denied an application to convert the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an exchange-traded fund (ETF).
The news sent crypto prices surging on Tuesday, with Bitcoin gaining more than six per cent, pushing the $28,000 mark.
Grayscale and other asset managers, including BlackRock, WisdomTree and Fidelity, have pushed for the SEC to approve spot bitcoin ETFs, which would allow people to invest in the crypto without having to own it themselves.
However, while the regulator has recently approved its first bitcoin futures ETF, it has yet to give the green light to a spot bitcoin ETF
Last year Grayscale appealed to the courts on the basis that a spot ETF application should be treated in the same way as a futures ETF.
Judge Neomi Rao has agreed, stating in the opinion: “The denial of Grayscale’s proposal was arbitrary and capricious because the Commission failed to explain its different treatment of similar products.”
“We are reviewing the court’s decision to determine next steps,” stated the SEC.
Jennifer Rosenthal, spokesperson for Grayscale, lauded the decision as a breakthrough for crypto funds and digital asset managers: “This is a monumental step forward for American investors, the bitcoin ecosystem, and all those who have been advocating for bitcoin exposure through the added protections of the ETF wrapper,” she said.
It remains to be seen if the SEC will appeal the decision or, as investors are anticipating, there will now be a flood of approved applications.