CBOE Withdraws Rule Change Request to List Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund

The Chicago Board Options Exchange’s (CBOE) BZX Equity Exchange has apparently withdrawn its request for a rule change by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to an official notice published on Jan. 23, BZX withdrew a proposed rule change that would allow it to list a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF).

ETFs are securities that track a basket of assets proportionately represented in the fund’s shares. They are seen by some as a potential step forward for the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies as a regulated and passive investment instrument.

The ETF under consideration was backed by investment firm VanEck and financial services company SolidX. The proposal, which was first filed with the SEC back in June 2018, experienced several delays, as the U.S. financial watchdog postponed its decision on the rule change pursuant to Section 19 of the Securities Exchange Act. A final deadline for the decision was set for Feb. 27.

A CBOE spokesperson told Cointelegraph that the decision to withdraw its request was a result of the U.S. government shutdown as the end of the review period approaches. Some legal experts have noted that the SEC will be operating on a limited basis due the shutdown, which is the result of a political impasse over a proposed wall on the U.S.–Mexico border. According to the spokesperson, CBOE plans to re-submit a filing at a later date.

As per an SEC filing, the price of each share of the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust is set to $200,000. SolidX CEO Daniel H. Gallancy said that the high price reflects the fund’s intention to focus on institutional, rather than retail investors.

Some experts have expressed doubt over the future of a Bitcoin ETF. Last week, crypto entrepreneur and regular CNBC contributor Brian Kelly said that there is “no shot” for Bitcoin ETF approval in 2019.

Kelly said that the SEC is unlikely to change from its sceptical position toward crypto ETFs, as “there is too much that is unresolved.” According to the analyst, it will take more than a year to settle existing issues.

SEC commissioner Hester Peirce — dubbed “Crypto Mom” for her dissent with the commission’s decision to reject a Bitcoin ETF proposed the Winklevoss twins — said that a Bitcoin ETF is “definitely possible,” but it could take a while:

“Definitely possible could be 20 years from now or it could be tomorrow. Don’t hold your breath. The SEC took a long time to [establish] Finhub. It might take even longer to approve an exchange traded product.”

The story is developing and will be updated with further details.