Grayscale’s court win yesterday has added optimism for a Bitcoin ETF this year.

Bloomberg’s ETF experts Eric Balchunas and James Seyffart now give a 75% chance of approval by the end of the year.

This morning, the duo upped the odds of an approval in 2023 from 65% at the start of August.


Grayscale’s win against the SEC yesterday, one which saw a DC circuit court call the Commission’s reasons to block the crypto firm’s application “unlawful,” has been instrumental in the shift in sentiment.

The SEC has already seen a renewed wave of spot Bitcoin ETF applications earlier this summer led by BlackRock.

Now, the deadline for six applications is coming this weekend.

A table showing Bitcoin ETF deadlines.
The deadline for SEC’s review of Bitcoin ETF applications. Source: Bloomberg Intelligence.

The SEC’s standard review period for ETF proposals is 240 days after they have been added to the federal register.


However, the deadline is not set in stone as the SEC can extend it if it needs more time to review an application.

The financial regulator has already formally accepted BlackRock’s ETF application and added it to the federal register on July 19, kicking off the review period.

The other ETF applications also applied shortly after BlackRock, which is probably why the SEC added them to the federal register around the same time. The 240-day review period for these applications will end in the second week of January 2024.

During the review period, the SEC has specific deadlines for making decisions. These deadlines usually occur at 45-, 60-, and 90-day intervals within that 240-day timeframe.

The SEC can either approve the ETF, deny it, or extend the review period.

The first deadline is due this Saturday, September 2, per both Bloomberg analysts. BlockRock’s review follows five other applications from VanEck, Wisdom Tree, Invesco, Fidelity, and Bitwise before the week's out.

Bitwise, which refiled its ETF application on June 28 this year, has a review coming up on a day before BlackRock’s ETF application on September 1.

The SEC recently delayed its decision on ARK Investment’s Bitcoin ETF application, saying it needed more time before approving or denying the application.


On getting a green light from the regulator, “the chances have increased” since the Grayscale decision Tim Bevan, CEO at ETC Group told Decrypt, “but the SEC can still appeal or deny applications for other reasons.”

Bevan bets the market will see a Bitcoin ETF by the fourth quarter of this year, or early next.

“It’s a big win for the industry and the overall market as the odds of the launch of a physically replicated ETF have increased a lot,” Deribit's chief commercial officer Luuk Strijers told Decrypt. “A spot-based ETF is much cleaner, easier to understand, and has lower tracking errors which benefits all involved.”

Blachunas and Seyffart also expect “delay orders” to this week’s deadlines as approval is “highly unlikely so soon after the court decision,” tweeted Seyffart.

Next steps for a Bitcoin ETF

Bloomberg Intelligence research analyst James Seyffart tweeted after the verdict that it is a “complete and utter rebuke of all the SEC's spot Bitcoin ETF denial orders.”

Seyffart added that there’s “no wiggle room” for the SEC as the court “shot down” all their arguments. “But the decision is going back to the SEC. What can the SEC do?”

ETF analyst Eric Balchunas said that SEC Chairman Gary Gensler’s “ego is a legit variable” in the SEC’s actions moving forward.


The court sided with Grayscale's arguments that a spot Bitcoin ETF meets the same criteria for market manipulation and fraud concerns as the already approved Bitcoin futures ETF, deeming the SEC’s denial of spot Bitcoin applications arbitrary.

SEC could “revoke the listing of Bitcoin Futures ETFs” if they want to deny a spot Bitcoin ETF, according to Seyffart.

The other option is that they could come after “custody or settlement of Bitcoin.” Currently, the asset management firms proposing an ETF have listed Coinbase as their custodian and reference for spot market data for pricing.

“At the moment, it's a small win in the long journey for approval of a bitcoin spot ETF,” Tim Frost, CEO of digital wealth platform Yield App shared with Decrypt. “Ultimately, this landmark ruling has the potential to redefine crypto's status as an asset class.”

Frost added that the “ball will now be in the SEC's court.”

Deribit’s Strijers also told Decrypt that if the SEC fails in approving Bitcoin ETFs “other TradFi global markets like Hong Kong, Singapore, United Kingdom or other countries in the European Union will launch a spot-based ETF” and the trading activity will move beyond the United States.

Stay on top of crypto news, get daily updates in your inbox.