SEC Dampens Hopes for Quick Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval: WSJ

SEC Dampens Hopes for Quick Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval: WSJ

Agency says recent filings from BlackRock, Fidelity not adequate, sources tell WSJ.

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A batch of recently submitted spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund requests aren’t satisfactory to regulators, unnamed sources told the Wall Street Journal, apparently dashing hopes for quick approval of a landmark spot bitcoin ETF that were raised by filings from Fidelity Investments, BlackRock Inc., ARK Investment Management and others. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission has informed the Cboe and Nasdaq exchanges, which refiled submissions on behalf of BlackRock and Fidelity, that the filings are neither clear nor comprehensive, WSJ reported Friday. The regulator returned the filings, the paper said, due to details missing about safeguards the issuers said they would put in place to prevent fraud. 

Cboe, which refiled Fidelity’s Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust on Thursday, resubmitted its paperwork Friday. The filing says Coinbase Global Inc. will provide safety measures, under a so-called surveillance-sharing agreement or SSA.

The WSJ report follows a spate of spot bitcoin ETF filings and amendments that said issuers would include SSAs to dispel regulators’ concerns that crypto exchange-traded funds were overly vulnerable to fraud and manipulation. Those filings didn't necessarily mention a specific SSA provider, but nevertheless raised hopes that the SEC, which has denied 70 or so spot bitcoin ETF requests over the past decade, was softening its stance. 

"They were never just going to approve these things because these firms 'claimed' to have an SSA with some spot exchange,” Bloomberg Intelligence’s ETF analyst James Seyffart tweeted on June 30, referring to surveillance-sharing agreements. “The SEC was always going to need more info and likely will want to see the exact details of said SSA before remotely considering approving on this basis." 

Firms are permitted to amend and resubmit their filings. A spokesperson declined to provide details. BlackRock’s iShares unit declined to comment. 

Bitcoin, Coinbase Fall 

The price of bitcoin, which had gained about 24% since BlackRock filed on June 15 for its spot bitcoin ETF, initially dropped around 3% Friday and was paring losses midday. Coinbase Global, which agreed to store BlackRock’s crypto if the filing was approved, dropped 1.8%.  

Seyffart’s tweet also suggested that the market may have overreacted to the WSJ report.  

“The WSJ article headline about Bitcoin ETF filings being essentially dead was a bit strong,” he wrote. “What they are saying the SEC is doing makes complete sense and we kinda saw this coming.” 

Speculation that the SEC may lose a lawsuit seeking to overturn its denial of Grayscale’s conversion of its Bitcoin Trust into a spot bitcoin ETF is also raising hopes for a fund approval this year. On July 13, the SEC will present its response to Coinbase’s defense, according to a memo


Contact Ron Day at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @RonDayETF  

Ron Day is Managing Editor at He joined the company in October 2022 and previously served as editor and deputy managing editor.

Ron covered business and financial news at Bloomberg News for 20 years, working on the breaking news, technology, commodities, headlines and First Word teams. He was previously senior editor at ESG news outlet Karma Impact and filled the same role at Boundless Impact. He also covered a variety of beats at New Jersey daily papers including the Daily Record in Parsippany, the North Jersey Herald & News and the Asbury Park Press. Ron's freelance work has been published in, and

Ron is an advocate and fan of literacy. He hopes to one day master his Telecaster, rather than the other way around. His wonderful family includes a 10-lb. malti-poo named Emmy.