The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has continued to drag its feet over approving a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).
The SEC filed a notice on Sept 8 stating that it has now designated Nov 14 as the date that it will either approve or disapprove a proposed rule change that will allow the listing and trading of shares of the VanEck Bitcoin Trust.
There was very little explanation given for this latest round of procrastination other than some jargon about issues raised in comment letters;
“The Commission finds that it is appropriate to designate a longer period within which to issue an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the issues raised in the comment letters that have been submitted in connection therewith,”
Crypto ETFs on the backburner
The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) BZX Exchange proposed the rule change to permit the listing of Bitcoin ETF shares on March 1, 2021. The SEC waited until April 28 before announcing its first postponement and then referred to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 so that it could have 180 days to make a decision.
That was due to expire on Sept 15 so the financial regulator has requested a further 60 days to delay the decision.
The stalling has been going for two years since the CBOE first partnered with VanEck and SolidX to apply for a rule change proposal from the SEC. VanEck and SolidX applied for a “limited” BTC fund in September 2019 that would only be available to a very small group of established financial firms.
The original Bitcoin ETF filing by the two companies goes back even further to June 2018. This was withdrawn the following year after more SEC stonewalling in favor of the limited fund.
VanEck tried again in December 2020 with another Bitcoin Trust application that the SEC has put on the permanent back burner. In August 2021, VanEck filed for an Ethereum futures fund listing but withdrew the filing just a few days later.
A long wait
In light of the regulator’s recent threats of legal action towards Coinbase, it is unlikely a crypto ETF product will be approved this year or under the current anti-crypto administration.
In early August, SEC Chair Gary Gensler said that he anticipated more crypto ETF filings before adding:
“I look forward to the staff’s review of such filings, particularly if those are limited to these CME-traded Bitcoin futures.”
Given the latest repeated postponement, that statement appears to be nothing but more hot air.