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Grayscale Bolsters Legal Team With Top Obama Lawyer Ahead of Spot ETF Decision

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Don't miss CoinDesk's Consensus 2022, the must-attend crypto & blockchain festival experience of the year in Austin, TX this June 9-12.

Grayscale Investments LLC has strengthened its legal team with the addition of Donald B. Verrilli Jr. as the digital asset firm continues its mission to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (Grayscale’s parent company Digital Currency Group is also the owner of CoinDesk, which is run as an independent subsidiary).

Verrilli’s career includes previously serving as a solicitor general for the U.S. from 2011-2016 under the Obama administration. During that time, Verrilli was the top lawyer representing the government’s side in dozens of U.S. Supreme Court cases, and he’ll now work as additional counsel for Grayscale.

For Grayscale, the move comes as the firm approaches a July 6 deadline for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to make a decision on Grayscale's application to convert GBTC to a spot bitcoin ETF. The firm initially applied for the conversion in October 2021.

“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, underlining Verrilli’s long experience before the high court, including major wins defending the Affordable Care Act and legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

“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 firm said in May it had a “productive” meeting with the SEC in which it made its case for an approval.

Grayscale has been actively encouraging its customers to share their support for GBTC's conversion with the SEC.

Jesse Hamilton contributed additional reporting to this story.