SEC again postpones decision on two Bitcoin ETFs

abdelaziz Fathi

The approval of a regulated crypto derivative this year is now looking far less likely, as the US regulators have once again deferred their decision on whether to approve any of the proposed Bitcoin ETFs.

Bitcoin in a few hands

Per an official document published by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the new deadlines to review two proposals have been shifted to February 2022, as the agency needs more time to review the potential rule change further.

The SEC has extended its review of NYSE Arca’s “actual” Bitcoin ETF, named Bitwise Bitcoin ETP Trust, and Grayscale Bitcoin Trust’s Bitcoin ETF. The regulatory body said in an extension notice that it would now give an answer on these proposal on February 1 and 6, respectively.

A decision was expected no earlier than mid-December, 45 days from the time the applications for the funds were published in the federal register, but the SEC is yet to approve a single BTC exchange-traded fund.

“The Commission finds that it is 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 and any comments received,” the SEC wrote in both notices.

Bitwise Asset Management has once more filed for an exchange-traded product that would hold bitcoin directly in October. The Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Trust seeks approval to issue and redeem shares that trade on the NYSE Arca, Inc. stock exchange in blocks of 25,000 shares.

Also in October, Grayscale Investments, a subsidiary of Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, said it plans to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into a spot bitcoin ETF.

There are a number of applications underway to get a bitcoin ETF listed, but so far none have been approved by the SEC. The agency only extended the deliberation window or opened the matter to public comments to avoid reaching any decision on a proposal, meaning today’s delay is no surprise.

Earlier in in October, the regulator also pushed the deadline to make a decision on Kryptoin Bitcoin ETF, Global X Bitcoin Trust, Valkyrie XBTO Bitcoin Futures Fund, and Wisdomtree Bitcoin Trust.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler said that he would be open to approving a bitcoin-futures ETF, but only under certain conditions. The revelation rankled some fund managers who were hopeful of a physically backed ETF, but regulated like a normal exchange-traded fund under a 1933 law.

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