Today, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced delays in its decisions regarding Bitcoin ETF applications from six companies out of seven—Fidelity, WisdomTree, Valkyrie, VanEck, Bitwise, and Invesco.
The regulatory body stated it would need at least 45 more days to review these applications, pushing the deadline to mid-October.
While these six companies face delays, rumors are also circulating that BlackRock, the last Bitcoin ETF application awaiting a decision, may experience a similar postponement.
SEC’s Routine Procedure and Future Steps
The delay is a standard part of the SEC’s process. Within 45 days of publishing a proposal in the federal register, the commission often announces whether it needs more time for consideration.
For these six Bitcoin ETF applications, the SEC has a total of 240 days to make its final decisions. The agency has not given a specific reason for the delay, stating only that it needs more time to examine the proposals and related issues.
Previously, on August 11, the SEC had postponed its decision on a Bitcoin ETF from Ark 21Shares. At that time, the SEC mentioned that it would request public comments and “institute proceedings” to decide whether to permit the fund to begin trading.
Adding to the list of delays, there are rumors that the SEC is also likely to postpone its decision on a Bitcoin ETF proposal from BlackRock. Originally, the SEC was expected to address BlackRock’s application by the end of this week. If these rumors hold true, it would mean that all seven Bitcoin ETF applications are facing delays from the SEC.
Industry analysts have speculated that Bitcoin ETF approvals might occur by the end of this year or in 2024. After Grayscale Investments won its case against the SEC in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts increased their prediction of Bitcoin ETF approval by the end of 2023 from 65% to 75%.
SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s Approach to Cryptocurrencies
Meanwhile, SEC Chair Gary Gensler has been criticized for his approach to cryptocurrencies. Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry, a ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, called Gensler’s approach to digital assets overly aggressive.
Gensler is set to testify before Congress twice in September: first to the Senate Banking Committee on September 12 and then to the House Financial Services Committee on September 27.
Back in April, the House Committee on Financial Services claimed that Gensler had misrepresented the SEC’s authority by pushing crypto firms to register with the agency, despite the absence of a clear registration framework.
The SEC has not yet allowed any Bitcoin ETFs to come to market, and these delays are part of an ongoing cautious approach by the regulator. The SEC has stated that it needs more time to consider the applications and the issues they raise.
These delays are not surprising, especially given the SEC’s earlier decision to postpone the Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF. The SEC has a series of deadlines and a total of 240 days to address these applications. With multiple companies awaiting a decision, the coming months will be important for the future of Bitcoin ETFs.