The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to delay its decision on whether to approve or deny Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) listings for the U.S. spot market despite pressure from House Financial Services Committee members to approve the applications “immediately”.
Last week, the Commission delayed its decision for Bitcoin spot ETF filings from VanEck and ARK 21Shares until December 25, and January 10.
Similarly, the SEC also delayed proposals from Invesco, Bitwise, and Valkyrie until January 2024. On September 28, James Seyffart, an ETF analyst for Bloomberg, shared on X (formerly Twitter) that the securities watchdog has pushed back applications from BlackRock, Fidelity, and WisdomTree.
This has been the second extension of the approval deadline for the funds from BlackRock, Galaxy Digital, Valkyrie, Invesco, and ARK 21Shares.
SEC Delays Spot Bitcoin ETF Approvals Citing Fears Of A U.S. Government Shutdown
For some of the applicants, the latest round of delays comes two weeks earlier than the second scheduled deadline date. They had been expecting to hear from the Commission between October 16 and 19.
Earlier, the securities watchdog said it could delay proceedings due to the possibility that the U.S. government could be facing a shutdown, which it narrowly avoided after Congress extended funding availability for an additional 45 days, before which the House and the Senate will need to reach a common consensus.
On September 26, the SEC said it would require some more time to approve or disapprove of a proposed rule change that would allow the listing of ARK 21Shares’ Bitcoin ETF on the Cboe BZX Exchange. The regulator previously delayed the company’s application on August 11, when it had given time until November 11 to decide on approving, denying, or deferring a decision.
The same day, the SEC postponed its decision on the spot Bitcoin ETF offering from GobalX, which was due on October 7. Meanwhile, there is a set of deadlines for seven applicants around mid-January, which could also be delayed. The SEC will have to make a final decision regarding the spot Bitcoin ETF applications by March 2024, at the very latest.
In response to the delay on its spot Bitcoin ETF application, asset manager Bitwise has filed an amended application, in which the firm highlighted the SEC’s statements on “the mixed or inconclusive academic record” on the complicated relationship between BTC futures and spot markets.
U.S. Lawmakers Ask The SEC To Approve Spot Bitcoin ETFs “Immediately”
The host of recent delays led to a group of lawmakers accusing the SEC of “discriminating against spot Bitcoin exchange-traded products” in a letter addressed to the Commission’s chairman Gary Gensler. U.S. Lawmakers Ask The SEC To Approve Spot Bitcoin ETFs “Immediately”.
Representatives Mike Flood, Wiley Nickel, Tom Emmer, and Ritchie Torres argued that there was “no reason to continue to deny” any of the applications following the court’s decision regarding the SEC’s disapproval of crypto fund manager Grayscale’s attempt to convert its GBTC Bitcoin Trust into a spot ETF.
In August, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Commision’s reasoning to deny Grayscale’s ETF application was “arbitrary and capricious” after having already approved ETFs tied to Bitcoin futures contracts. The court asked the regulator to re-review the listing before making a final decision.
The court’s overturning of the decision has led many experts to believe that the agency will soon approve a spot Bitcoin ETF. However, to date, the SEC has not approved the listing of any spot Bitcoin ETF for U.S.-based exchanges but has instead delayed decisions on BTC ETPs from seven major financial firms – BlackRock, Fidelity, WisdomTree, Invesco Galaxy, Valkyrie, Bitwise, and VanEck.
Members of the House Financial Services Committee are now pressuring the securities regulator to approve the listings “immediately” as they believe that a regulated spot Bitcoin ETP would increase investor protection by making access to the cryptocurrency safer and more transparent.