Grayscale Hires Top Obama Lawyer Ahead of Spot ETF Verdict

UTC by Benjamin Godfrey · 3 min read
Grayscale Hires Top Obama Lawyer Ahead of Spot ETF Verdict
Photo: Leon Stein / Flickr

Grayscale is confident more investors will embrace the product if it is presented as a spot Bitcoin ETF.

In anticipation of the final decision with respect to the conversion of its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) to a spot Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) product, Grayscale Investments LLC has added Donald B. Verrilli Jr, a top solicitor during the Obama Administration as a part of its legal team.

Grayscale Investments, a subsidiary of the Digital Currency Group (DCG) filed the application for the conversion of its flagship GBTC back in October 2021 and is the next amongst American entities awaiting feedback from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with July 6th set as the deadline for the regulator’s verdict.

The onboarding of Verrilli is a testament to the position that has been reiterated times and over by the company’s Chief Executive Officer Micheal Sonnenshein who said the firm is ready to explore all options with respect to its push to get its application approved, including legal means.

Verrilli served with President Barack Obama as the administration’s solicitor from 2011 to 2016. During his time working for the White House, he led very high profile cases including those involving representations at the Supreme Court, with a boatload of winnings under his belt.

“It’s paramount that Grayscale has the strongest legal minds working on our application to convert GBTC to an ETF, and we are thrilled that Verrilli will join our outstanding legal team,” a Grayscale spokesperson said, highlighting Verrilli’s long experience before the high court, including major wins defending the Affordable Care Act and legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

With Verrilli as part of Grayscale’s counsel, the firm seems ready to take legal actions even against the SEC in the advent that its application will be rejected as much as the regulator has done for Fidelity Investments and One River Digital Assets Management amongst others.

Grayscale Anticipation for Its Spot BTC ETF is Double-Faced

While the SEC is known primarily to always reject spot ETF applications, Grayscale said it is preparing for the possibility of getting a positive response and by so doing, it is preparing the Bitcoin Trusts in such a way that they can easily be converted to a spot Bitcoin ETF.

“Grayscale has an unwavering commitment to converting GBTC to an ETF,” the spokesperson added. “To that end, Grayscale has been preparing for all scenarios: We have ensured that GBTC is operationally ready to convert to an ETF and have been exploring options should the SEC not allow GBTC to convert to an ETF.”

The route through which Grayscale is aiming to secure approval for the first spot Bitcoin ETF in the US is one of its kind, and different from all other models which makes it more difficult to predict what the SEC will say. The company’s Bitcoin Trust has garnered a lot of backing from investors as it boasts $20 billion in Assets Under Management (AUM).

Grayscale is confident more investors will embrace the product if it is presented as a spot Bitcoin ETF.

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