SEC takes new meetings with BlackRock, Grayscale as high-level Bitcoin ETF talks continue

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continued its review process of Bitcoin ETF applications, holding two additional meetings with applicants Grayscale and BlackRock on Dec. 19, 2023.

The meeting with Grayscale revolved around a proposed rule change, which, if approved, would permit NYSE Arca to list and trade shares of Grayscale’s forthcoming spot Bitcoin ETF. Representatives from Grayscale, NYSE Arca, and the legal firm Davis Polk were present at this meeting. Also in attendance was Michael Sonnenshein, the CEO of Grayscale.

The meeting marks Grayscale’s sixth meeting with the SEC and fourth meeting in the span of one month. The SEC’s list of Grayscale dates also includes two meetings with representatives from Coinbase, both of which took place in 2022.

In August 2023, Grayscale secured the right through a court decision for the SEC to review its spot Bitcoin ETF application, leading to a series of follow-up meetings. The company commented on the possibility of approval on its website as recently as Dec. 1.

BlackRock, SEC meet again

Another meeting concerned BlackRock and a proposed rule change permitting Nasdaq to list and trade BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust. The meeting included several members of BlackRock and the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The event marks BlackRock’s fifth meeting with the SEC. All five meetings took place over the span of one month, starting on Nov. 20.

Unlike past notices, today’s notice did not indicate the topics discussed. Previous meetings between the SEC and BlackRock compared cash and in-kind redemption and creation models, the latter of which would allow for certain Bitcoin transactions among participants. BlackRock updated its application on Dec. 18 to indicate that it would initially use a cash model.

Many experts believe that a spot Bitcoin ETF will be approved by Jan. 10, 2024. This is partly due to a deadline that requires the SEC to decide on an application from Ark and 21Shares by that date. It is also partly due to recent meetings and amendments to filings across all applicants. However, the SEC has not approved a spot Bitcoin ETF to date and approval is not certain.

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