The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has postponed its decisions on six applications for spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
According to SEC filings dated Aug. 31, the commission has designated a longer period in which it may review spot Bitcoin (BTC) ETF applications from WisdomTree, VanEck, Invesco Galaxy, Bitwise and Valkyrie, as well as the Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust proposed by Fidelity. The SEC will have another 45 days upon publication in the Federal Register to consider the proposed rule changes allowing listing of the investment vehicles, giving the regulator until October to approve, deny or delay a decision.
The delays followed speculation that the SEC could approve a spot Bitcoin ETF in the U.S. for the first time after the commission lost a crucial court case brought by asset manager Grayscale. An appellate court ruled on Aug. 29 the SEC would need to review Grayscale’s petition to convert its Bitcoin Trust into an ETF, leading many experts to suggest the odds for approval of at least one spot crypto ETF had significantly increased.
JUST IN: SEC is opting to delay (as expected) on spot bitcoin ETF deadlines pic.twitter.com/W4JjOji6L2— Eric Balchunas (@EricBalchunas) August 31, 2023
WisdomTree’s Bitcoin ETF proposal didn’t get the SEC’s approval following a 2021 filing. However, after BlackRock joined the spot Bitcoin ETF race, WisdomTree refiled its application. In July, following reports that the SEC would be more open to accepting ETF applications with a surveillance-sharing agreement, some firms refiled, naming crypto exchange Coinbase as a partner.
WisdomTree, Valkyrie, Fidelity, VanEck, Bitwise and Invesco are six of many firms with crypto ETF applications in the SEC pipeline, including BlackRock and ARK Invest. Many had expected the SEC to reach a decision or delay approval for Bitwise’s BTC investment vehicle first, as its deadline was Sept. 1. Labor Day, falling on Sept. 4 in 2023, is a national holiday in the U.S., suggesting the commission may want to get the filings in before the weekend.
Additional reporting by Prashant Jha.
Update (Aug. 31 at 8:25 PM UTC): This article has been updated to reflect the SEC also delayed its decision on Fidelity's Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust and the ETF offering from VanEck.
Update (Aug. 31 at 8:57 PM UTC): This article has been updated to include the SEC delaying a decision on the Bitcoin ETF from Bitwise Asset Management.