SEC Delays Decision On Bitwise and VanEck Bitcoin ETF Proposals


The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has once again postponed any decision on the approval or disapproval of a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

As per letters published on the regulator’s website, a decision on two bitcoin ETFs- the NYSE Arca Bitwise Bitcoin ETF and the VanEck/SolidX ETF proposals- will now be issued at a later date.

Bitwise Asset Management filed its proposed rule to list the fund on the NYSE earlier this year, with the SEC publishing it in the Federal Register on February 15.

The publication in the government register kicked off an initial 45-day period within which the Commission had to review and come to a decision on whether to approve or reject the application.

However, the law allows the securities watchdog to extend the initial period, with the same law allowing a maximum of 240 days within which the SEC has to either approve or disapprove any ETF proposal before it.

So, in keeping with the law, SEC’s decision to postpone an announcement regarding Bitwise’s ETF gives it another 45 days in which to carry out a further review before arriving at a verdict. As such, the regulator is expected to allow or reject “or institute proceedings” for the same by May 16, 2019.

The agency stated in its letter that it had received 21 comments in relation to Bitwise’s NYSE Arca proposed rule change.

The SEC has also postponed any decision on the VanEck application that sought to list its ETF on Cboe’s BZX Exchange.

While VanEck/SolidX initially filed their proposal almost a year ago, the firms moved to withdraw the application in January this year during the U.S. government shutdown.

According to Jan van Eck, the CEO of VanEck, the long government shutdown had affected the engagements between the SEC and the firms seeking the proposed rule change. Therefore, withdrawing the application and re-filing it was seen as the best option under the circumstances.

Cboe re-filed the proposal in late January, days after pulling it. The SEC then published the rule change proposal in the Federal Register on February 20.

But as with Bitwise’s ETF, the SEC said on Friday that it had pushed a verdict on VanEck’s proposal to May 21.

The SEC is yet to put an approval seal on any of the many bitcoin ETFs that have been brought before it. But while that continues to frustrate the crypto community, several high profile figures, even from within the commission’s ranks, have voiced optimism that it will eventually happen.

SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson pointed out in February that developments within the crypto sector mean the agency will “eventually” have to consider approving at least one ETF that satisfies the standards required.

The same view was expressed by Jake Chervinsky, an attorney with law firm Kobre Kim, telling Coindesk that the crypto ecosystem had had a lot of development in the last 10 months.

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.

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