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Revolutionizing Cryptocurrency Investments: SEC Approves Bitcoin ETFs in Landmark Decision

Author: Gaurav Shanker, Managing Partner, Yamini Mishra, Associate and Harshul Garg, Trainee Associate |

Article by Business Law Chamber

The regulatory authority in the United States has granted approval for exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that directly invest in Bitcoin. This development is being hailed as a significant milestone in the US financial market, as it is expected to expand the accessibility of the leading cryptocurrency not only on Wall Street but also in broader financial spheres. The decision signifies a notable shift for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which, for the past decade, had consistently turned down Bitcoin ETF proposals citing concerns about potential manipulation.

The pivotal decision follows a significant win for Grayscale Investments against the SEC. The Commission had disapproved more than 20 exchange rule filings for spot bitcoin ETPs, one of those filings, made by Grayscale, contemplated the conversion of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an ETP. A federal appeals court overturned the SEC's rejection of Grayscale's application to transform its Bitcoin trust into an ETF and deemed the denial "arbitrary and capricious" as the SEC did not provide a clear explanation for its disparate treatment of comparable products. The SEC, having faced a setback in the case with Grayscale, acknowledged its impact as one of the factors influencing the decision to approve the new applications.

As per the ‘Statement on the Approval of Spot Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Products’ as posted on the SEC’s official website, the current initiative aims to provide the following protections for investors:

  • Sponsors of bitcoin ETPs will be required to provide full, fair, and truthful disclosure about the products. Investors in any bitcoin ETP that is listed and traded will benefit from the disclosure included in public registration statements and required periodic filings.
  • These products will be listed and traded on registered national securities exchanges. Such regulated exchanges are required to have rules designed to prevent fraud and manipulation, and we will monitor them closely to ensure that they are enforcing those rules.
  • The Commission will fully investigate any fraud or manipulation in the securities markets, including schemes that use social media platforms. Such regulated exchanges also have rules designed to address certain conflicts of interest as well as to protect investors and the public interest.
  • Existing rules and standards of conduct will apply to the purchase and sale of the approved ETPs. Revolutionizing Cryptocurrency Investments: SEC Approves Bitcoin ETFs in Landmark Decision
  • The Commission staff is separately completing the review of registration statements for 10 spot bitcoin ETPs simultaneously, which will help create a level playing field for issuers and promote fairness and competition, benefiting investors and the broader market.

Further, the statement by the Commission specifies that “this action is cabined to ETPs holding one non-security commodity, bitcoin. It should in no way signal the Commission’s willingness to approve listing standards for crypto asset securities. Nor does the approval signal anything about the Commission’s views as to the status of other crypto assets under the federal securities laws or about the current state of non-compliance of certain crypto asset market participants with the federal securities laws.”

This decision can be a game-changer for Bitcoin. It opens up avenues for both institutional and retail investors around the world to gain exposure to the world's largest cryptocurrency without the need to directly hold it. This approval, as indicated on the SEC's website, paves the way for these financial institutions to offer exchange-traded funds (ETFs) related to Bitcoin.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are author's point of view. This article is not intended to substitute legal advice. In no event the author or Business Law Chamber shall be liable for any direct, indirect, special or incidental damage resulting from or arising out of or in connection with the use of this information. For any further queries or follow up, please contact us at

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