U.S. SEC Defers Decision on Multiple Bitcoin ETF Applications

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has once again kept the cryptocurrency community in suspense

by Faruk Imamovic
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U.S. SEC Defers Decision on Multiple Bitcoin ETF Applications
© Getty Images News/Marco Bello

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has once again kept the cryptocurrency community in suspense, opting to postpone its judgment on six high-profile applications for Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

According to official documentation filed on August 31, the regulatory body has extended the review timeline for spot Bitcoin ETF applications from industry heavyweights WisdomTree, VanEck, Invesco Galaxy, Bitwise, Valkyrie, and Fidelity's proposed Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust.

With an additional 45 days on the clock post-publication in the Federal Register, the SEC now has until October to finalize its stance: approve, reject, or defer yet again.

Stirring the Waters of Crypto Hope

The recent deferrals arrive on the heels of a broader discussion among crypto enthusiasts and experts.

Many speculated that the U.S. could finally green-light a spot Bitcoin ETF, especially after the SEC's recent courtroom defeat to asset management titan, Grayscale. On August 29, an appellate court mandated the SEC to evaluate Grayscale's petition to metamorphose its Bitcoin Trust into an ETF.

This legal development led several experts to deduce that the likelihood of green-lighting at least one spot ETF has surged considerably. WisdomTree's journey with its Bitcoin ETF proposal offers an interesting insight into the evolving landscape.

Although its initial proposal faced a roadblock with the SEC in 2021, the investment giant recalibrated its approach, especially after financial behemoth BlackRock dipped its toes into the Bitcoin ETF waters. Reports in July hinted at the SEC's warming stance towards ETF submissions that incorporated a shared custody arrangement.

Seizing this perceived opportunity, several contenders, including WisdomTree, revamped their filings, even naming prominent crypto exchange Coinbase as a collaborator.

The Waiting Game Continues

With a slew of crypto ETF applications in the pipeline - among them market leaders BlackRock and ARK Invest - industry observers had eyed Bitwise's application decision as the potential frontrunner, given its looming deadline of September 1st.

The timing, just before Labor Day, a recognized public holiday on September 4, 2023, indicates a strategic move by the SEC to finalize their documentation ahead of the long weekend. As the crypto world keenly awaits the SEC's next move, one thing is clear: The merging of traditional finance with digital assets continues to be a complex, evolving dance, fraught with anticipation and unpredictability.

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