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VanEck-SolidX Bitcoin ETF Won’t Just Skate Through as US Government Shutdown Continues [Updated]

3 mins
Updated by Dani Polo
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The political clash between President Donald Trump and the Democrats has led to the shutdown of some US government agencies. As a result, the VanEck-SolidX Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) could be approved by default — if the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is unable to reach a timely decision.

Update 2019-01-23, 3:08 PM: Shortly after publication, news broke that Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. has withdrawn its proposed rule change to list and trade shares issued by the VanEck-SolidX Bitcoin Trust. Thus, the contents of this article are no longer applicable — but will be preserved nonetheless. BeInCrypto will publish a new article on the withdrawn application.

The shutdown has, naturally, affected the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The effect of this development might not be so evident now, but the VanEck-SolidX BTC ETF could be an unlikely beneficiary.

The president of VanEck has shown a great deal of optimism in regards to the approval of the ETF. VanEck believes it has all expected structures put in place to railroad its approval, despite the ongoing shutdown. This does not change the fact that the SEC is in limbo at present and not performing any official function during this period.

Although the SEC has until Feb 27 to make a decision on whether or not the VanEck ETF should be approved, the present scenario makes the deadline too close for comfort. If the SEC, however, fails to come up with a decision, as expected by law, automatic approval for VanEck ensues — as the SEC does not have the power to extend the 240-day deadline.

Dissenting Views

Blockchain attorney Jake Chervinsky has made a statement to clarify some grey areas. He noted that failure to reach a decision by the Feb 27 deadline does not amount to automatic approval. This view is certainly contrary to the prevailing belief. Rather, there are some sets of people at the SEC working to prevent the deadline from elapsing before a decision is made.

The SEC posted on its website that, from Dec 27 and until further notice, it would still have several staff members available. The members are, however, expected to handle emergency situations during the shutdown. Some of the situations to be handled by the staff include market integrity and investor protection, including law enforcement. This has already shown that the SEC has put measures in place to ensure a decision is made before the date elapses.


A Ready Alibi?

Chervinsky said that, even if the deadline elapses, the SEC would still have an excuse to back its inaction up. It would play on the excuse that there was a shutdown that prevented it from making a decision. It could also claim that it did not even conclude its review before the shutdown. This, however, might not tally with recent efforts of the US government to ramp up cryptocurrency legislation.

The attorney opined that if the SEC fails to approve the ETF before the deadline, it is obvious that VanEck has merited an auto-approval. He, however, stated it clearly that an automatic approval does not equal a lifetime guarantee. He ascertained that SEC could easily undo this when the shutdown ends and force the ETF to be delisted.

Do you share the optimism that VanEck BTC ETF could be approved by default? Share your views in the comments below!


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Adolph Obasogie
Adolph is a Chartered Accountant who has worked as a global investment and portfolio analyst for more than a decade. He reads , documents, and contributes to the unfolding...