The Green Light: SEC Approves U.S.’s First Spot Bitcoin ETFs

A Historic Breakthrough

In a surprising turn of events on January 10, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officially approved multiple spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This milestone came just a day after a false announcement from the SEC’s official Twitter account sent shockwaves through the markets.

Unraveling the Chaos

On January 9, the SEC’s announcement on Twitter created confusion, leading to a dramatic false start. However, the situation took a positive turn on January 10 when the SEC formally approved 19b-4 applications from prominent entities such as ARK 21Shares, Invesco Galaxy, VanEck, WisdomTree, Fidelity, Valkyrie, BlackRock, Grayscale, Bitwise, Hashdex, and Franklin Templeton.

The SEC’s Approval Journey

The approval process was not without its quirks. The initial SEC website link, where the approval document was expected, displayed an Error 404. Later, the filing was found on the commission’s website under a different link

SEC decision approving applicants for Bitcoin ETFs. Source: U.S. SEC

A Glimpse into the Future

This groundbreaking approval signifies the introduction of the United States’ first regulated spot Bitcoin ETFs. Investors can now gain direct exposure to Bitcoin’s price without the need for self-custody, marking a significant shift in the investment landscape.

The Road Traveled: Over a Decade in the Making

The SEC’s approval comes over a decade after the Winklevoss twins’ initial attempt to launch the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust in 2013. The commission had consistently rejected spot Bitcoin ETF requests, citing concerns about market manipulation and fraud.

However, the landscape changed after Grayscale won a court case in August 2023, overturning the SEC’s denial of its application to convert the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into a spot Bitcoin ETF.

What’s Next for Investors?

With the green light for spot Bitcoin ETFs, all eyes are on when these ETFs will hit the market. Galaxy Research’s Alex Thorn predicts potential inflows of $14 billion in the first year, while VanEck estimates around $2.4 billion in the first quarter of 2024.

Fee Structures Unveiled

Launching a spot Bitcoin ETF involves SEC approval for both S-1 (or S-3) and 19b-4 forms. Ten issuers filed their final amended S-1 and S-3 filings on January 8, disclosing their fee structures.

  • BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, will charge 0.2% fees until reaching $5 billion in assets under management (AUM).
  • Bitwise follows closely at 0.24%, with Ark 21Shares and VanEck trailing slightly at 0.25% fees.
  • Ark 21Shares will waive all fees for the first six months or until the product reaches $1 billion AUM.

Grayscale currently stands out with the highest fee rate of 1.5%.


The approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs by the SEC marks a pivotal moment in the cryptocurrency and investment landscape. As the industry eagerly anticipates the commencement of trading, investors prepare for a new era of accessibility and opportunities in the realm of digital assets.

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