U.S. SEC has 8-10 filings of possible bitcoin ETF products

By Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Douglas Gillison

(Reuters) -The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has eight to 10 filings of possible exchange-traded products for bitcoin in front of it for consideration, SEC Chair Gary Gensler said Thursday.

Bitcoin has rallied this week on speculation that SEC approval is imminent for a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) – seen as a driver of demand because it would allow investors to obtain direct exposure to the cryptocurrency via an exchange-listed product.

To date, the SEC has approved only ETFs tied to bitcoin futures contracts.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency was last down 1.6% at $33,958 in mid-day trading, after gaining nearly 14% so far this week.

“They’ll come potentially to the five-member commission. I’m not going to prejudge them but I don’t have anything on timing,” Gensler said. “They all have various different filing dates.”

Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest application is at the front of the line. The 240-day SEC comment period for that application expires on Jan. 10, 2024; regulators must either reject or approve it by that date.

BlackRock, Bitwise, WisdomTree, Fidelity and Invesco are among several other firms with pending applications for bitcoin funds in the U.S.

Anticipation around spot ETFs has been rising after the SEC opted not to appeal a court ruling it had been wrong to reject an application from Grayscale Investments to convert its existing bitcoin trust into a spot bitcoin ETF.

The court has instructed it to reconsider that decision.

(Reporting by Douglas Gillison and Bansari Mayur Kamdar; Editing by Megan Davies and David Holmes)