The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is showing signs of expediting approvals for multiple spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This anticipation builds upon the SEC’s lack of action in appealing a court case it lost to Grayscale Investments. According to analysts at JPMorgan—led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou—on Wednesday, the regulatory body will most likely finalize these approvals within months, potentially ahead of January 10, 2024. This date marks the final deadline for applications from Ark Invest and 21Shares, among others.
Moreover, the SEC’s silence in the Grayscale case has set the stage for an interesting twist. Grayscale may have to tweak its fee structure to keep up with the new normal. Besides, according to JPMorgan analysts, this adjustment benefits investors to the tune of $2 billion.
No preferential treatment for first movers
Additionally, the SEC doesn’t intend to favor any spot Bitcoin ETF applicant with first-mover advantage. Analysts from JPMorgan speculate that the regulatory body plans to give multiple nods in one go. This is significant because it allows for an arena where competition, particularly regarding ETF fees, will thrive.
Furthermore, analysts caution that these approvals are unlikely to drastically alter the crypto market dynamics or become a game-changer. Spot Bitcoin ETFs, available in both Canada and Europe, have yet to see a substantial inflow of investor interest. However, JPMorgan analysts maintain that the market should witness more fee competition, which is a win for investors.
Fee war anticipated in the wake of approvals
In light of the imminent approvals, JPMorgan analysts are expecting a fee war among the new entrants. Consequently, Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust, currently the largest Bitcoin fund globally with $17.7 billion in assets under management, will likely have to cut its fees. This change is because an ETF structure allows for a more efficient share redemption and creation mechanism.
Significantly, the current discount to Grayscale’s net asset value (NAV) stands at around -13%. This discount has been narrowing ever since Grayscale emerged victorious from its court battle. Analysts project this discount will disappear once Grayscale transitions its fund into an ETF.
Therefore, while the crypto community is abuzz with the prospects of multiple Bitcoin ETF approvals, the focus seems to be shifting toward what these approvals will mean for investors. The debate now lies in how these new structures will impact the current fee paradigms and whether that change will be enough to attract more significant investor interest.