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SEC Nears Decision on Spot Bitcoin ETFs as 19b-4 Amendments Signal Approvals

As the week concludes, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is signalling a step closer to approving spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with the submission of 19b-4 amendment forms by 11 applicants. The deadline for the SEC to make a decision on these products is rapidly approaching, bringing anticipation and speculation regarding the potential impact on the cryptocurrency market.

On January 5, amendments under 19b-4 were filed by prominent asset managers, including BlackRock, Valkyrie, Grayscale, Bitwise, Hashdex, ARK 21Shares, Invesco Galaxy, Fidelity, Franklin Templeton, VanEck, and WisdomTree. These filings represent one of the final stages in the SEC approval process, with the completion of S-1 documents necessary for U.S. exchanges to list shares of investment securities directly tied to cryptocurrency.

The looming deadline for a decision by the SEC, set for January 10, has fueled speculation among experts who anticipate the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs. If approved, this development could mark a significant milestone for the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the U.S. and around the world.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas expressed optimism about the SEC's potential approval, stating, "Yeah, it's basically done. Latest I'm hearing (from multiple sources) that final S-1s are due 8 am on Monday as SEC is trying to line everyone up for Jan 11th launch."

Despite such positive sentiments from some industry insiders, U.S. financial advisers as a whole appear less confident in the SEC's approval of the proposed Bitcoin ETFs. A recent survey conducted by ETF issuer Bitwise revealed that only 39% of U.S.-based financial advisers believe a Bitcoin ETF will be approved in 2024.

The survey, which gathered responses from registered investment advisers, financial planners, institutional investors, and wirehouse representatives, posed various questions related to the expected approval timeline for a spot Bitcoin ETF. The result highlights a significant degree of skepticism among financial professionals, suggesting that not everyone is convinced of a swift regulatory green light.

As the SEC evaluates the submitted 19b-4 amendments and finalizes the S-1 documents, the cryptocurrency community eagerly awaits the regulatory decision that could shape the landscape for Bitcoin investment products in the United States. Whether the SEC's decision aligns with industry expectations or deviates from them, it is certain to have a notable impact on the trajectory of cryptocurrency adoption within the U.S. financial markets.

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