JP Morgan Predicts SEC's Approval of Bitcoin ETFs After Grayscale Case
JP Morgan analysts, led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, have expressed the belief that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will be compelled to approve spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications from various firms. This perspective stems from the recent court case in which the SEC lost against Grayscale Investments, signaling potential changes in the regulatory landscape.
In a significant legal development, a federal court ruled that the SEC must reevaluate its rejection of Grayscale's proposal to convert its Bitcoin trust into an ETF. The court criticized the SEC's decision as "arbitrary and capricious," emphasizing that it failed to provide adequate explanations for treating futures-based Bitcoin ETFs differently from spot-based Bitcoin ETFs.
JP Morgan's analysts contend that the SEC is now in a challenging position. To maintain consistency, the SEC would need to reconsider not only Grayscale's request to convert its trust into an ETF but also the spot Bitcoin ETF applications submitted by various firms. Rejecting these applications while approving futures-based ETFs would be considered disruptive and potentially embarrassing for the SEC, making such a move less likely.
The SEC has recently delayed decisions on spot Bitcoin ETFs proposed by several entities, including financial industry giants like BlackRock, Fidelity Investments, and Invesco. JP Morgan's analysts interpret these delays as a signal that the SEC may approve multiple spot Bitcoin ETF applications simultaneously, rather than favoring a single applicant for a "first-mover advantage."
This scenario could introduce competition in ETF fees, potentially pressuring Grayscale to reduce its fees if its trust is transformed into the world's largest Bitcoin spot ETF. However, JP Morgan believes that despite the positive momentum toward regulatory approval for spot Bitcoin ETFs, these products may not significantly alter the broader crypto and financial industries.
According to JP Morgan's research note, spot Bitcoin ETFs have been available in Canada and Europe for some time but have not garnered substantial investor interest. Additionally, the outflows from gold ETFs in recent months did not translate into substantial inflows into Bitcoin funds, including futures-based ETFs. As a result, the analysts predict that ETFs launched in the U.S. are likely to follow a similar performance pattern.
In summary, JP Morgan anticipates that the SEC will lean towards approving spot Bitcoin ETFs after the Grayscale case, potentially reshaping the ETF landscape while acknowledging the complexities and nuances of the cryptocurrency market.