The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has once again deferred its decision on a major spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), causing further delay and uncertainty for investors. The SEC’s filing on Sept. 26 acknowledged the proposal for the approval and listing of the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF by Cboe BZX. While the filing was submitted in April 2023, it was not published for comment until May 15. The extended approval period and postponed decision highlight potential challenges for the future of Bitcoin ETFs and the regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrency investments.
The SEC initially set a deadline for approving or rejecting the proposal within 180 days of its publication, which would have been Nov. 11, 2023. However, the securities regulator stated in its filing that it has the authority to extend the approval deadline by an additional 60 days. Consequently, the SEC has postponed its decision on the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF until Jan. 10, 2024. Interestingly, the SEC also delayed a decision on GlobalX’s Bitcoin ETF, which is separate from the ARK 21 Shares ETF but filed through the same platform. The delay in these approvals could potentially indicate the SEC’s approach to other pending applications for Bitcoin ETFs.
The extended delays have significant implications for asset management firms and other entities awaiting SEC approval for spot Bitcoin ETFs. Following BlackRock’s application in June, a wave of similar filings flooded the regulatory space. However, ARK had submitted its filing much earlier, giving the SEC a deadline of January 2024. Other applications could face even longer delays, potentially stretching until March 2024. This uncertainty poses challenges for investors and hinders the growth and maturity of the cryptocurrency market.
Despite the anticipated delay, ARK Invest CEO and CIO, Cathie Wood, expressed optimism that the SEC would eventually approve several funds. Wood acknowledged the likelihood of the SEC postponing the decision on her company’s filing in August. However, she remains hopeful that the regulatory landscape will evolve to accommodate Bitcoin ETFs and crypto investments. In support of this sentiment, various U.S. lawmakers recently penned a letter to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler and several commissioners, urging them to approve a Bitcoin ETF.
The SEC’s decision to delay the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF approval further prolongs the uncertainty surrounding the cryptocurrency market. The postponed decision, along with the simultaneous delay of GlobalX’s Bitcoin ETF, indicates potential challenges in the SEC’s approach to future applications. The impact of these delays extends beyond individual entities, affecting the entire industry and hindering the growth and mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies. Despite the setbacks, industry leaders like ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood remain hopeful for eventual approval. It is now up to the SEC to navigate the complex regulatory landscape and provide clarity for investors seeking to tap into the potential of Bitcoin ETFs.