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SEC Delays Bitcoin ETF Approval

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What You Need to Know

  • The SEC extended its 45-day decision timeframe to 90 days on the VanEck Bitcoin Trust.
  • The move “only delays the inevitable,” lawyer Nick Morgan says.
  • Cryptocurrency funds are already available in other countries.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has pushed off its decision on whether to approve a Bitcoin ETF for VanEck until at least June 17.

In a filing, the agency extended its 45-day decision timeframe to 90 days for VanEck and Cboe’s application to list a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund.

“The SEC continues to be thoughtful in its evaluation” of a Bitcoin ETF, Ric Edelman, founder of the RIA Digital Assets Council,  told ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday in an email. “I am hopeful that the agency will conclude that approval of ETFs in this new asset class is better for investors because lack of such options is forcing investors to choose other paths which are often riskier and more expensive — not to mention greater risk of fraud.”

Fidelity Investments filed an application on March 25 with the SEC to launch a Bitcoin ETF called the Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust. It would track the performance of Bitcoin as measured by the Fidelity Bitcoin Index PR, which continually updates Bitcoin prices throughout the day based on feeds from multiple spot markets and a volume-weighted median price methodology.

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Nicolas Morgan, partner at the global defense firm Paul Hastings in Los Angeles and a former SEC trial attorney, told ThinkAdvisor Tuesday in another email that “the concept of a Bitcoin ETF has gone through multiple iterations over the last several years with private actors (Winklevoss twins) and funds (Fidelity) pursuing regulatory approval for a concept that’s been available in Sweden for some time.”

Cryptocurrency ETFs are also available on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The SEC’s delay in responding to VanEck’s request “only delays the inevitable,” Morgan said. “Clearly there’s demand for this product.”