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Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval: Date, Timeline and Latest Update

Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval: Date, Timeline and Latest Update
Author: Rakshita Jain

UPDATE: The US SEC has finally approved 11 Spot Bitcoin ETF applications on January 10, 2024. These ETFs tied to the spot price of Bitcoin commenced trading in the US on January 11, 2024.

The excitement around Bitcoin has peaked with the beginning of 2024 as the deadlines for multiple impending Bitcoin ETF approvals have come closer. Due to it, Bitcoin recently hiked up 8%, reaching over $45000 for the first time since April 2022.

Each passing day brings fresh updates on these Bitcoin ETFs, giving interesting price swings to the most significant coin of the crypto market. However, due to this relentless flow of new information, there's a risk of missing out on vital updates related to the Bitcoin ETF approval.

We have curated this comprehensive blog summarizing Bitcoin ETF approval dates and the latest updates to mitigate this risk.

So, let's begin from the beginning.

The Story of Spot Bitcoin ETF Filing and Approval

The story of the Bitcoin ETF began in October 2021, when Grayscale Investments, one of the world's largest crypto asset managers, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a Bitcoin spot ETF. Interestingly, this news came right after the SEC approved Bitcoin Futures ETFs.

  • The U.S. SEC rejected Grayscale's application to turn GBTC into an ETF in June 2022. Grayscale sued the SEC for this unreasonable rejection of its application.
  • On June 15, 2023, BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, filed for a Spot Bitcoin ETF with the SEC to expose its investors to Bitcoin without participating directly in the crypto market. It filled the name of this ETF as the iShare Bitcoin Trust. It made big headlines because Blackrock has an impeccable record of 575 approved ETFs, with only one rejected. Thus, its interest in Bitcoin ETF hinted towards a possible approval of the first Spot Bitcoin ETF approval in the USA.
  • Many other financial giants like Fidelity, Invesco, WisdomTree, Bitwise, Valkyrie Investments, Ark Invest, VanEck, Global X, Hashdex, and Franklin also filed for spot Bitcoin ETF one after the other.
  • By the end of June, Bloomberg's senior analyst shared that BlackRock's Bitcoin ETF request has a 50% chance of getting approved. Based on the high probability of Grayscale winning its case against the SEC, the analyst made this prediction, which could lead to a change of heart for the SEC on the Bitcoin ETF applications.
  • On August 29, 2023, Grayscale finally registered a landmark victory in its lawsuit when the court declared that the SEC was wrong to reject Grayscale's application to convert its trust fund into an exchange-traded fund. Top firms closely watched this case as it played a significant role in the SEC's stance towards Bitcoin Spot ETFs. Thus, the victory of Grayscale strengthened the chances of Bitcoin ETF applications getting approval soon.
  • On September 26, 2023, the SEC delayed its decision on Ark Invest's 21 Share Bitcoin Spot ETF application.
  • On October 13, 2024, the news was that the SEC would not appeal the Grayscale case after facing the defeat in the lawsuit in August. This decision mandated the SEC to review the Grayscale Bitcoin ETF applications and the other pending applications of BlackRock, Ark Invest and others.
  • On the same day (October 13), Bloomberg analysts Eric Balchunas and James Seyffart predicted that spot Bitcoin ETF now has a 90% chance of approval. Earlier, this prediction was only 50%, meaning the chances of ETF approval increased significantly.
  • On October 16, a reputed crypto news resource, Cointelegraph, posted a false tweet stating that BlackRock's Bitcoin ETF application had received approval from the SEC. This rumour made BTC's price jump from $27,900 to $30,000 within minutes.
  • On October 19, 2023, BlackRock submitted a revised prospectus for its spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) application to the U.S. SEC. The notable changes in this revised prospectus included a detailed explanation of the product pricing and acknowledgement of the competition in the race for BTC ETF approval. Many experts suggested that these amendments were a good sign of progress towards eventual acceptance.
  • Four days later, on October 23, 2023, iShares, the spot Bitcoin ETF by BlackRock, got listed on the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC). Such a listing usually indicates a potential for approval by the US SEC. Even Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas expressed his opinion that DTCC listing is an important step towards the approval of these ETFs in the coming months. The Bitcoin price spiked more than 10% upward that day, increasing from $31,000 to $35,300. Since May 2022, it was the first time BTC crossed the $35000 mark.
  • The next stop in this Bitcoin ETF timeline came in the first week of December. BlackRock, along with Bitwise, again updated its Bitcoin ETF application as per the instructions received from the SEC. The new updated filing had new information about the efforts these administrators will take to monitor the unusual price movements of the ETF. It also had information about money laundering compliances and other judicial data. The SEC and the ETF applicants seemed to be working hard to move forward in the right direction. Unlike earlier times when the SEC did not take an interest in communicating with the spot Bitcoin ETF applicants, this time, it is taking an active interest in discussing the favourable framework for the Bitcoin ETFs. Moreover, this time, the SEC is giving similar instructions to the applicants, hinting towards its plans to approve multiple Bitcoin ETFs simultaneously.
  • On December 19, 2023, BlackRock revised its spot Bitcoin ETF proposal again. Under this revision, BlackRock added the cash redemption model to its application as advised by the SEC. This model requires BlackRock to deposit cash equivalent to the net value of its ETF.
  • With Ark Invest's Bitcoin ETF approval deadline of January 10 2024, the new year started with heightened excitement among Bitcoin investors. As a result, Bitcoin surged 8% on January 2 2024, to hit $45,000 after almost two years.
  • On January 3, 2024, Matrixport, a key crypto finance player, released a report revealing that the SEC will reject all Bitcoin ETF applications in January. Due to this rejection, it predicted a 20% price dip for Bitcoin that could bring the BTC price back to the range of $36,000 to $38,000. As an instant outcome of this news, the BTC price slumped from $45,000 to $40,600 within minutes.
  • The next intriguing incident in the Spot Bitcoin ETF approval saga unfolded on January 9, 2024. A tweet surfaced from the official X account of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), announcing the approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs. In response to this tweet, the price of BTC experienced a rapid surge of 2.5%, causing BTC to make a fresh 19-month high of $47,900. However, this bullish momentum abruptly reversed when U.S. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler disclosed that the news was false, attributing it to a compromise of the SEC account. Consequently, BTC witnessed a swift decline of 6% within minutes. Later, the X platform's security team investigations revealed that the U.S. SEC's X account was compromised due to the organization's failure to implement 2-factor authentication.

That was the step-by-step flow of all the events that have happened so far in the Bitcoin ETF timeline.

Now, let's quickly look at the upcoming Bitcoin ETF deadlines to keep in mind.

Spot Bitcoin ETF Deadline

Bitcoin ETF
Above is the Spot Bitcoin ETF deadline chart for all the applicant corporations which have applied. As you can see, the first final Bitcoin ETF deadline is for Ark Invest's 21 Shares on January 10 2024. It means the U.S. SEC has to give its final verdict on Ark Invest's application by January 10.

Since the Bitcoin ETF deadline for the foremost application is January 10, multiple industry experts believe that if the first application gets the green flag from the SEC, other BTC ETF applicants will get approval soon. This possibility is due to the highly similar nature of all these applications.

As these applicants have already submitted their end-of-the-year revising filings, the ball is officially in the SEC court, which can either approve or reject the Spot Bitcoin ETF requests. The SEC may notify these applicants about its decision before taking it officially. Thus, if the SEC accepts or rejects Ark Invest or other applications of Bitcoin, these institutions may know anytime before January 10, 2024.

Over 14 asset-management institutions who have applied for these Spot Bitcoin ETFs hope to get approval in the upcoming weeks. Over the last few years, the SEC has rejected multiple Spot Bitcoin ETF applications filed by different institutions, citing cryptocurrencies' risky and unregulated nature. However, since this time, it already lost a legal battle where it rejected Grayscale's application to convert its Bitcoin Trust Fund to a Spot Bitcoin ETF, so chances are that it will have to give Bitcoin ETF approvals now.

Along with the final deadline of Ark Invest's 21 Shares Bitcoin ETF deadline, seven other Bitcoin ETF applications (BlackRock, Bitwise, VanEck, WisdomTree, Invesco, Fidelity and Valkyrie) also have their third deadline scheduled for January month. However, the SEC may postpone its decision for these applicants until their final March 15, 2024 deadline.

Now that we have discussed the dates of Bitcoin ETF approval, a genuine question arises: why are these Spot Bitcoin ETF approvals so necessary?

So, let's know that too.

Benefit of Bitcoin ETF Approval

From Price Perspective

If these Spot Bitcoin ETFs get approval, industry analysts expect funds worth billions of dollars to enter the Bitcoin market. Investors hesitate to enter the crypto market due to its highly volatile nature. But once the Bitcoin spot ETFs in the USA get approval, these investors will be able to benefit from the Bitcoin price movements without being directly involved with the crypto space. For that reason, a stampede rush of institutional funds into Bitcoin can be possible, causing magnificent price hikes for BTC. It is also worth noting that Bitcoin Halving 2024 is just a few months away, which can further bring in the supply crunch of new BTC, contributing to sharper upward price movement for Bitcoin this year.

As per various industry-specialized platforms like Standard Chartered, Bernstein, Blockstream and many others, BTC can cross the $100k mark this year if the SEC approves the Spot BTC ETF applications.

From Adoption Perspective

The approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs will also be the cornerstone for the mainstream era of Bitcoin at the institutional level. Retail investors make most of the crypto market, but the launch of Bitcoin Spot ETFs can be the beginning of institutional interest in it. By easing investing in Bitcoin and providing a regulatory environment, Bitcoin ETFs will make Bitcoin more acceptable for big investors. Since these ETFs will also eliminate the need to own a crypto wallet or private keys to invest in Bitcoin, they have a huge potential to encourage institutions and big investors to own BTC.

FAQs About Bitcoin ETF

What is the Bitcoin ETF approval date?

The date for Bitcoin ETF approval has yet to be released. However, the U.S. SEC, which will approve these ETFs, has the deadline to give the final decision on Ark Invest's 21Share application by January 10. Thus, Bitcoin Spot ETFs will likely get approval before January 10, 2024.

What is the Bitcoin ETF approval deadline?

The Bitcoin approval deadline for the first ETF in the list is January 10, 2024. The U.S. SEC must give its final call on Ark Invest's Bitcoin ETF request by this date. However, many experts believe the SEC can decide on the ETF applications before this deadline.

Is Bitcoin ETF any good?

A Bitcoin ETF allows its investors to invest in Bitcoin without buying it from the crypto market. It lets investors take advantage of wild bitcoin price swings in a regulated atmosphere. It also eliminates the need to buy a crypto wallet or remember private keys to invest in Bitcoin long-term. However, it may risk the decentralized nature of Bitcoin as big investors may own a significant portion of the Bitcoin supply, giving them an unfair advantage over the Bitcoin network.

What will happen to Bitcoin if the ETF is approved?

As per the industry experts and various finance analysts, ETF approval can cause Bitcoin prices to reach astronomical highs. As Bitcoin ETFs have tremendous potential to attract big investors from the finance world, they can bring wider acceptance and attention to Bitcoin from across the globe.

Is Bitcoin ETF risky?

Yes, Bitcoin ETFs can be risky as their underlying asset, Bitcoin, is a highly volatile investment class. Since they are backed directly by Bitcoin, Bitcoin's fluctuating prices will directly impact the performance of these ETFs. Though they are less risky than Bitcoin, they are still a high-risk investment.

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