Bitcoin [BTC] ETF: SEC stalls proposal yet again; decision pushed to May 2019

In what could trigger a bearish decline for the cryptocurrency market, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] has yet again stalled a publicly traded Bitcoin [BTC] product. The top regulator released a public notice to the effect on March 29.

An application for a Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund [ETF] was tabled before the SEC by Bitwise Asset Management with NYSE Arca in February. The initial period for the decision to be made was 45 days from the date of filing the application.

The notice from the SEC stated that a “longer period” was necessary to take a decision on the ETF. Given this extension, the regulatory body will confirm their stance on the Bitcoin ETF on May 16, 2019, according to the notice. The statement read,

“The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change.”

Bitwise and NYSE Arca filed the application for the Bitcoin ETF back in January. A year prior, when Bitcoin was trading upwards of $20,000, the NYSE filed several applications for permission to list a Bitcoin ETFs.

The SEC has not spared the other top contenders for the ETF, VanEck and the CBOE. Coincidently, the decision regarding the VanEck/CBOE ETF will be taken days after the Bitwise ETF decision, on May 21, 2019. VanEck and the CBOE reapplied for their Bitcoin ETF in late-January, 2019, following the US government shutdown.

It should be noted that the final deadline for the respective ETF proposals would be October 13 and October 18, 2019 for the Bitwise and VanECK/CBOE applications. Given this information, the SEC will merely hear the proposal in May, with two more certain delays in the pipeline, confirmed Jake Chervinkly, a member of the securities litigation team at Kobre & Kim.

His tweet read:

“The SEC has extended its deadlines to approve or deny the Bitwise and VanEck bitcoin ETF proposals to May 16 and May 21, 2019. The SEC can, and almost certainly will, delay both ETF proposals two more times.
The SEC’s *final* deadlines will be October 13 and October 18, 2019.”

Regulatory authorities are still on the fence regarding a publicly traded Bitcoin product as the SEC Chairman confirmed a few weeks ago. Chairman Jay Clayton cited the ease of the cryptocurrency market to be manipulated and the excessive price volatility as the main reasons for the lack of approvals of the ETF.

On one hand, SEC officials do not place trust in the cryptocurrency markets, on the other, they believe a bull-run is imminent. Valarie Szczepanik, the SEC’s digital asset advisor stated that the “crypto-spring” was imminent, but maintained the need for regulatory oversight.

Recently, Bitwise submitted a report to the SEC covering various aspects of the Bitcoin market in support of its application. The report stated that 95 percent of volume touted by exchanges was fake, the BTC futures market was significant compared to its spot equivalent and that under the hood, the Bitcoin market was less prone to manipulation than one might think.

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