Grayscale Attorneys Object to SEC’s Handling of Leveraged Bitcoin ETF

Lawyers representing Grayscale have faulted the SEC's handling of leveraged Bitcoin ETF product while still denying the spot version

Attorneys representing Grayscale Investments, a prominent asset management company have raised concerns over the recent approval of a leveraged Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

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The criticism stems from the perceived inconsistency in the SEC’s decision-making process, particularly in contrast to its previous rejections of spot Bitcoin ETF proposals. 

Grayscale’s Criticism

In a letter addressed to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Donald Verrilli, an attorney representing Grayscale has argued that a leveraged Bitcoin ETF poses even greater risks compared to other investment products. 

Verrilli’s argument emphasizes that if the SEC had previously rejected spot Bitcoin ETF proposals due to concerns over market manipulation, investor protection, and lack of proper surveillance, then the approval of a leveraged product seems contradictory.

Understanding Leverage and Risks

The 2x leveraged bitcoin futures ETF exploits leverage, a financial strategy that tries to increase investment returns by magnifying exposure to an underlying asset. In this scenario, the ETF tries to double the daily performance of the S&P CME Bitcoin Futures Daily Roll Index.

While leverage can potentially amplify gains, it also significantly increases the level of risk for investors. Grayscale’s attorneys argue that the 2x leveraged Bitcoin futures ETF exposes investors to a riskier investment product than standard Bitcoin futures exchange-traded funds.

This is because, by attempting to double the index’s daily performance, the ETF amplifies both positive and negative moves in the underlying asset, which in this case is bitcoin futures. As the crypto market is known for its volatility, the application of leverage can lead to heightened fluctuations in returns, potentially resulting in larger gains or losses for investors.

Grayscale’s Legal Fight

Grayscale, best known for its flagship fund, GBTC, has been fighting the SEC in court since last year. The asset management firm attempted to turn GBTC into a spot Bitcoin ETF but was denied by the regulatory authorities.

Grayscale filed a complaint with the SEC, disputing its decision and requesting clearance for a spot ETF. The decision of this lawsuit will have far-reaching consequences for how cryptocurrency-based investment products are regulated.

If Grayscale’s efforts to transform GBTC into a spot ETF are successful, it may open the way for further advances in the regulation of crypto-based investment products.

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