Grayscale Files Appeal as the SEC Rejects its Bid to Convert GBTC to Spot Bitcoin ETF

Cryptocurrency asset management firm, Grayscale Investments has filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit against the rejection decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to convert the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) to a full-fledged Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) product.

The SEC’s decision came days earlier than the projected July 6 deadline after many delays, and the company, a subsidiary of the Digital Currency Group, wasted no time in filing the appeal. The firm said it will be arguing that the court revises the regulator’s decisions, as it violated both the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

“Grayscale supports and believes in the SEC’s mandate to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets and facilitate capital formation – and we are deeply disappointed by and vehemently disagree with the SEC’s decision to continue to deny spot bitcoin ETFs from coming to the U.S. market,” Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein said in a statement Wednesday.

Grayscale to Fight SEC With Top Solicitor

In anticipation of this decision, Grayscale Investments said it is prepared for any plausible outcomes, and envisaging a rejection, it onboarded Donald Verrilli Jr. as a part of its legal team.

Verrilli is a top Solicitor that worked with President Barack Obama and won a number of APA cases at the time. Earlier this month, Verrilli told reporters that the fact that the SEC has approved the Bitcoin Futures ETF is an indication that it had trust in the industry as a whole.

“This is a place where common sense has a really important role to play. You’ve got a situation now in which you have certain kinds of exchange traded funds, one that is focused on bitcoin futures, and the SEC has approved that, the SEC is given it the seal of approval,” he said. “In order to do so it had to make a determination that that giving this approval was consistent with the securities laws, and in particular, that that there wasn’t a sufficient underlying risk of fraud and manipulation.” 

The SEC’s basis for rejecting the conversion is hinged on the fact that there is not enough mechanism to prevent market manipulation.