The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is taking its time to make a decision on a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposal from ARK 21Shares. According to a notice released by the SEC on September 26, the regulator will designate a longer period to determine whether to approve or disapprove the proposed rule change that would allow the spot BTC ETF on the Cboe BZX Exchange.
The SEC’s decision comes after a previous delay on August 11, which gave the regulator until November 11 to make a decision on the ETF proposal. In explaining the delay, the SEC stated that it needed more time to consider the proposed rule change and the issues raised therein.
Interestingly, the SEC also deferred a decision on another Bitcoin ETF offering from fund manager GlobalX on the same day. It is unclear why the commission chose to designate longer periods to determine the fate of these ETF applications weeks ahead of their next deadlines in October and November. Typically, the SEC files a delay just a few days before the deadline.
With the additional 60 days given to consider ARK 21Shares’ offering, the SEC’s final deadline for ARK 21Shares will be January 10, which is 240 days after the initial application was filed. The next deadline for GlobalX’s ETF will be on November 21.
The filing for the Bitcoin ETF followed a letter from four U.S. Representatives urging SEC chair Gary Gensler to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF immediately. These lawmakers claimed that the SEC had been applying inconsistent and discriminatory standards by approving ETFs linked to crypto futures but not spot investment vehicles.
It is worth noting that the SEC has not yet approved any spot BTC ETF for listing on a U.S.-based exchange. Despite the anticipation that the commission would reconsider pending ETF applications following its loss to Grayscale in court in August, no progress has been made thus far.
Currently, the next deadlines for spot crypto ETF applications from major firms such as BlackRock, WisdomTree, Invesco Galaxy, Valkyrie, Bitwise, VanEck, and Fidelity are scheduled for October. However, the SEC has the authority to delay or extend these deadlines until March.
In conclusion, the SEC is taking its time in deciding on the approval or disapproval of the proposed rule change for the spot Bitcoin ETF offerings from ARK 21Shares and GlobalX. The regulators have designated longer periods to consider the applications, leading to extended deadlines for their decisions. Industry experts and lawmakers have been urging the SEC to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF, citing concerns of inconsistent standards. However, as of now, no spot BTC ETF has been approved for U.S. exchanges, and the upcoming deadlines for other major firms’ ETF applications are approaching. It remains to be seen when the SEC will make its final decision on these proposals.