In recent months there have been a growing number of questions around the possibility of a spot Bitcoin ETF in the US, and we’d like to take the opportunity to provide clarity and context on what such a development would mean at Grayscale and for Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (Symbol: GBTC).
Beginning with GBTC, our intention is to convert all of our crypto investment products to ETFs. This vision has been present from the beginning of our firm, and we have a well-defined product roadmap to help get us there.
In 2013, Grayscale launched GBTC and pioneered the model of providing investors with exposure to digital assets in the form of a security without the challenges of buying, storing, and safekeeping digital assets. This proved to be a popular model. In 2015, shares of GBTC made their debut on OTC Markets and we became the first company with a publicly traded Bitcoin fund in the U.S.
In 2020, we reached another milestone: GBTC was accepted as the first crypto investment fund to convert to an SEC-reporting company. Later that same year we converted Grayscale Ethereum Trust (Symbol: ETHE) into the second. These were each groundbreaking achievements and brought greater transparency, regulatory clarity, and reporting standards for the investment community.
Over time, Grayscale has continued to use this same business model for all of our crypto investment products.
Today, each Grayscale digital currency investment product sits within the first three stages of this lifecycle and our intention has always been to convert these products into ETFs when permissible.*
We understand that for many, the public discourse around ETFs may seem novel and impactful, but this is a subject that Grayscale has been examining closely from both a commercial and regulatory perspective for several years.
Grayscale first submitted an application for a Bitcoin ETF in 2016 and spent the better part of 2017 in conversations with the SEC. Ultimately, we withdrew our application because we believed the regulatory environment for digital assets had not advanced to the point where such a product could successfully be brought to market.
Grayscale submitted a new application in October 2021 and received a formal denial. We are currently litigating the outcome. Learn more here. While several firms have submitted Bitcoin ETF applications in the form of an S-1 or 19b-4 to the SEC, none have been approved. We remain confident in our positioning and ongoing engagement with the SEC.
Today, the timing and outlook for approval will be driven by the evolving regulatory environment, political considerations, the outcome of current litigation, and possibly other factors. If GBTC were to convert to an ETF, holders of publicly-traded GBTC shares will not need to take action and the management fee will be reduced accordingly.
The digital asset market is developing and maturing every day, and while this may bring new challenges, it’s never been more exciting to be a part of this industry. Grayscale is as committed as ever to expanding access to digital currencies and offering investors more opportunities to invest in this asset class. Our eyes are focused on the long term, and we thank you for your continued support.
*Grayscale intends to attempt to have shares of all its products quoted on a secondary market, however there is no guarantee that we will be successful in doing so. Although certain products have been approved for trading on a secondary market, investors in other Grayscale products should not assume that such products will ever obtain an approval due to a variety of factors, including primarily regulatory considerations. As a result, shareholders of such non-public products should be prepared to bear the risk of investment indefinitely.
This blog post is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security in any jurisdiction where such an offer or solicitation would be illegal, nor shall there be any sale of any security in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of that jurisdiction.
*We use the generic term “ETF” to refer to exchange-traded investment vehicles, including those that are required to register under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “‘40 Act”), as well as other exchange-traded products which are not subject to the registration requirements of the ‘40 Act.
This blog post contains “forward-looking statements” with respect to the future performance and business of GBTC. Statements preceded by, followed by or that include words such as “may,” “might,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential” or “continue,” the negative of these terms and other similar expressions are intended to identify some of the forward-looking statements. All statements (other than statements of historical fact) included in this post that address activities, events or developments that will or may occur in the future, including such matters as changes in market prices and conditions, GBTC’s operations, the plans of Grayscale Investments and references to GBTC’s future success and other similar matters are forward-looking statements. These statements are only predictions. Actual events or results may differ materially from such statements. These statements are based upon certain assumptions and analyses Grayscale Investments has made based on its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors appropriate in the circumstances. Whether or not actual results and developments will conform to Grayscale Investments’ expectations and predictions, however, is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those described in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in GBTC’s Annual Report on Form 10-K. Forward-looking statements are made based on Grayscale Investments’ beliefs, estimates and opinions on the date the statements are made and neither GBTC or Grayscale Investments is under a duty or undertakes an obligation to update forward-looking statements if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change, other than as required by applicable laws. Investors are therefore cautioned against relying on forward-looking statements.