Coinbase, the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, is confident that a U.S. bitcoin spot ETF will be approved by the SEC, the company’s chief legal officer, Paul Grewal, told CNBC on Wednesday. A spot bitcoin ETF is an exchange-traded fund that tracks the current price of bitcoin by holding physical bitcoins in its portfolio. This would allow investors to gain exposure to bitcoin without having to buy and store the cryptocurrency themselves.
Coinbase is ready as soon as the SEC gives a go-ahead
Grewal said that Coinbase has been in “active and constructive” discussions with the SEC about its own application for a spot bitcoin ETF, which it filed in April. He added that Coinbase is “ready to go” as soon as the SEC gives the green light.
“I think that, after the U.S. Court of Appeals made clear that the SEC could not reject these applications on an arbitrary or capricious basis, we’re going to see the commission fulfill its responsibilities. I’m quite confident of that,” Grewal said.
A landmark ruling
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in August ruled that the SEC was wrong to reject Grayscale Investments’ proposed bitcoin ETF, in a case that has been closely watched by the industry. The court found that the SEC failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its decision, and ordered the agency to reconsider Grayscale’s application. The SEC reportedly does not plan to appeal the court’s decision.
A preference for spot ETF
The court’s ruling has raised hopes that the SEC will finally approve a spot bitcoin ETF, after years of rejecting or delaying such applications. The SEC has already approved several types of bitcoin ETFs, especially those based on futures contracts. However, many investors and experts prefer a spot bitcoin ETF, as it would more closely track the actual price of bitcoin and avoid the complexities and costs of futures trading.
Coinbase is not the only firm seeking to launch a spot bitcoin ETF in the U.S. market. Other applicants include Ark Investment Management, Bitwise Asset Management, Fidelity Investments, VanEck Associates, and WisdomTree Investments. The approval of a spot bitcoin ETF could boost the adoption and legitimacy of bitcoin, as well as increase its liquidity and price stability.