Bitcoin is at a critical juncture. Any time now, the Securities and Exchange Commission will issue a decision that could throw open the door to a flood of new capital, and change how many investors regard the digital currency.

The SEC’s bitcoin decision, which is over three years in the making, is due by Friday.

Here’s a plain English guide to what might happen, including why the decision is so important and how it could affect the price of bitcoin.

WHAT’S THE SEC DECISION?

The agency must decide if the BATS stock exchange can change its rules to offer a bitcoin ETF (exchange traded fund), which would let people buy bitcoin like a common stock.

The ETF—called the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF—is the creation of the Winklevoss brothers, who once fought Mark Zuckerberg for control of Facebook, and now own a large stock of bitcoins.

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