Bitcoin [BTC] ETF: SEC postpones verdict on ETF; final decision set for October 2019

In the middle of a significantly bullish May, a public notice was issued by the SEC, announcing a further delay to the hotly anticipated Bitwise Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund [ETF].

A publicly-traded Bitcoin product could have major implications on the market, both on the retail side and the institutional side. The ETF will likely establish several channels of purchase and trade, allowing unrealized potential capital flowing into the cryptocurrency space.

The notice read,

“The Commission is instituting proceedings pursuant to Section 19(b)(2)(B) of the Act 48 to determine whether the proposed rule change should be approved or disapproved. Institution of such proceedings is appropriate at this time in view of the legal and policy issues raised by the proposed rule change. Institution of proceedings does not indicate that the Commission has reached any conclusions with respect to any of the issues involved. Rather, as described below, the Commission seeks and encourages interested persons to provide comments on the proposed rule change”

Source: SEC Notice

Previously, on March 29, the SEC motioned to delay the ETF proposal by 45 days to May 16, 2019, citing the need for a “longer period” to take this decision.

Currently, before the regulatory body, there are two noteworthy Bitcoin ETF applications, one from Bitwise Asset Management-NYSE Arca, and the other from VanEck-CBOE. However, both respective proposals have been pushed. A previous report stated that the latter’s application will be ruled on by May 21.

In light of this delay, the SEC will make their final decision on the ETF on October 13 for the Bitwise-NYSE Arca proposal. Jake Chervinsky, a member of the securities litigation team at Kobre & Kim, stated that any hearing until the aforementioned dates will merely result in delays and not a final decision.

He stated,

“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.”

One of the main reasons for the SEC’s hesitation to ETF proposals is the volatility of Bitcoin and the larger cryptocurrency market. Prior to the March delay, the SEC Chairman stated that the vulnerability of the cryptocurrency market to manipulation, as well as the rampant price volatility are the main reasons for the delays.

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