The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed its decision on the VanEck bitcoin ETF again, saying in a filing that it wanted public commentary.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has once again delayed its decision on the VanEck bitcoin ETF, the regulator announced in a filing published on June 16. The decision follows the first announcement of a delay in April when it requested an extension of 45 days to make a decision on the approval. The next deadline is set for July 2021.
The SEC will now seek public comments on the proposal to list the product prepared by Cboe Global Markets. Investors will likely be disappointed about the decision but will have to make do with the fact the ETF decision has only been delayed, not outright rejected.
Concerns over investor protection
A bitcoin ETF would give a much larger swathe of investors the ability to invest in bitcoin easily. It allows investors to access the cryptocurrency market easily via a stock listing. This is the problem foreseen with an ETF, namely that the accessibility could lead to more risk for investors.
In the past, the SEC has cited investor protection and market volatility as the primary reasons behind the absence of bitcoin ETFs. Bitcoin’s recent correction of over 40% — though it has picked up to around the $40,000 range — has only exacerbated this concern.
In the filing, market manipulation and fraud have also been listed as concerns. The SEC asks the Cboe if it has taken any actions to prevent these occurrences, as well as if the trust and shares would be susceptible to manipulation.
More interestingly, it asks the degree to which bitcoin is transparent and how much it has changed in the past five years. It also asks potential commentators on the size and regulation of the bitcoin futures contract.
Insiders and market enthusiasts have pushed for an ETF, saying that it is about time for an asset that is now more or less in the mainstream. But regulators across the world are unsure what to do with such a nascent asset class and envision that there will be both legal and economic challenges to bringing it into greater public access.
Will the U.S. see an ETF approval this year?
The likeliness of a cryptocurrency ETF being approved this year in the U.S. is up in the air. VanEck has also submitted an SEC filing for an ETH-centered ETF, but updates on that are limited as it was only submitted early in May.
Gabor Gurbacs, a Director at VanEck, has called upon officials to embrace bitcoin, saying there are “trillions of dollars in potential value.” The U.S. remains a noticeable laggard in the cryptocurrency arms race, with economic rivals like China and developing nations taking to the technology at a much quicker pace.
The SEC now has several ETF applications on its desk, though the VanEck ETF remains the most prominent of them all. It could be that the SEC and other regulatory bodies are focused on a broader crypto framework first. In any case, the market should hear some news on the matter before the end of the year.