The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it would be streamlining the application process for investment companies, potentially resulting in expedited crypto and blockchain firms operating in a “more efficient and less costly manner.”

In a July 6 announcement on the SEC website, the Commission said it had voted to adopt rule amendments for an expedited review process for companies under the Investment Company Act. In addition, the SEC referred to a “new informal internal procedure” for any other applications that did not qualify for this expedited process. 

The announcement said it made the changes for a “more efficient” application process, and to provide “additional certainty and transparency.” The SEC said granting such exemptions could provide “important economic benefits to funds and their shareholders.”

“The application process under the Investment Company Act is an important component of our regulatory structure,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “The changes approved today will modernize and streamline this process, resulting in improved transparency, reduced costs, and a more efficient use of our staff’s resources.”

As part of the rules under the Investment Company Act of 1940, any company applying for a listing with the SEC faces a number of challenges to operate legally. The SEC said these changes would be effective 270 days following their publication in the Federal Register.

Faster for crypto funds?

The Commission has been very hesitant to sign off on Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including that of New York-based WisdomTree. Arca Labs, running its ArCoin on the Ethereum blockchain, speculated that no platform will be available to trade its fund through any major securities exchange registered with the SEC.

According to the new amendments, funds including EFTs that have required an exemption from the SEC in order to operate could qualify for an expedited review. The fund would need to file a third application “substantially identical” to others granted relief within three years. 

The SEC stated that in this case, the Commission will provide notice to an applicant within 45 days of the date of filing provided the company responds within 30 days. 

Reportedly, the review process for a typical IPO application with the SEC comprises three rounds of inquiries and lasts between one and two months. In January, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust became the first digital assets vehicle reporting to SEC standards following its application in November.