US SEC Postpones Decisions on VanEck, BitWise Bitcoin ETF Proposals

It seems the cryptocurrency community will have to continue waiting before our collective dream of having a Bitcoin ETF approved is achieved. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has denied a number of ETF proposals and postponed others over the years, and it made the same move again just a day or so ago.

SEC delays Bitcoin ETF proposals

The Securities and Exchange Commission published a circular yesterday revealing that it would be delaying making a decision on two Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposals submitted earlier this year.

The first of those proposals was submitted by Bitwise Asset Management with NYSE Arca and was published in the Federal Register last month. Following the submission of that proposal, the commission had a 45-day period to make an initial decision regarding the filing. In total, the SEC has 240 days to either reject any ETF filing or accept it. With the decision made yesterday by the commission, it is clear that it will take the remaining 45 days to look into the proposal before making a decision.

The commission stated on Friday that it would either reject, approve, or put into motion proceedings that would determine whether to disapprove the proposed rule change by May 16. The SEC said that “The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change. Accordingly, the Commission, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,6 designates May 16, 2019, as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove, or institute proceedings to determine whether to disapprove, the proposed rule change (File No. SRNYSEArca-2019-01).”

According to the circular published by the agency, it revealed that it has so far received only 21 comments regarding their proposed rule change.

SEC still reviewing VanEck ETF proposal

The commission pointed out that it is also studying the BTC ETF proposal submitted by VanEck and SolidX, in collaboration with the CBOE BZX Exchange. The VanEck proposal was initially submitted last year but was withdrawn earlier this year as the US government embarked on its most extended partial shutdown in history. The CEO of VanEck, Mr. Jan van Eck, noted that the closure temporarily paused conversations between the commission and companies aiming to launch Bitcoin ETFs.

The proposal was resubmitted in late January by CBOE and was published in the Federal Register on February 20. The SEC also extended its decision on this proposal, assigning May 21 as the date on which it would decide to approve or disapprove it or initiate proceedings that would do so.

Even though the commission is yet to approve any Bitcoin ETF proposals submitted, a number of prominent players in the crypto space believe that it could happen this year. During an interview, last month with Roll Call, SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson stated that he is confident that Bitcoin ETF proposals would satisfy the standards of the commission and would be approved eventually.

Attorney Jake Chervinsky of the Kobre Kim law firm previously stated that he believes the proposals would be accepted over the next few months as he thinks incredible developments would be recorded in the crypto space during that period. Once viable developments have been achieved, the commission would have to approve the ETF filings submitted.

The cryptocurrency community has been in the waiting for a Bitcoin ETF approval since last year. There is a belief amongst crypto enthusiasts that an ETF tied to Bitcoin would attract institutional investors that would lead the market to its next bull run. Cryptocurrency prices are down by roughly 80 percent since the all-time highs recorded in late 2017 and early 2018. Despite these price declines, the crypto sector has recorded several adoption, regulatory, and adoption milestones over the past few months, and many believe it is ready to have an ETF.