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SEC Delays Decision On Spot Bitcoin ETF Applications Again Despite Mounting Pressure to Approve

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spot Bitcoin-ETF
spot Bitcoin-ETF

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The US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) has again pushed back the deadline to approve or deny spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications made by Blackrock and several other fund managers.

Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval Faces Further Delays

According to separate filings made on September 28, the SEC has delayed the decision on proposals made by Invesco, Bitwise, Valkyrie, and Blackrock. The notice of delay was announced earlier than expected with the SEC having until mid-October before needing to approve or delay the applications.

Of the seven proposals expecting a decision in October, Fidelity, VanEck and WidsomTree are yet to hear from the commission. But yesterday’s decision suggests that those applications may also be delayed.

The recent batch of delay notices follows the extension of the deadline for the approval of similar applications by Ark 21 Shares and Global X. The former is now expecting the final decision to be made in January 2024 whereas Global X’s deadline has been moved to November 23 this year, with the possibility of a further extension.

While the new deadline for Invesco, Bitwise, Valkyrie, and Blackrock has not been explicitly stated, it could be set at around mid-January, which is also not final. If the SEC deems it fit, it can also push the date back further to mid-March when it will be required to give its final decision.

The delays and the timing of the notices could be partly attributed to the imminent government shutdown, expected to begin on October 1. When testifying before Congress on Wednesday, SEC Chair Gary Gensler said that the shutdown would slow down the agency’s capacity to handle business since it would reduce the available workforce by about 90%.

Increasing Pressure 

Pressure on the SEC to approve spot Bitcoin ETFs intensified after Grayscale Investments won a landmark court  win over the SEC, when a judge called the regulator’s decision to approve Bitcoin Futures ETS, but not spot Bitcoin ETFs, ”arbitrary and capricious.”

Four House Financial Services Committee members also this week urged the agency to approve the listing of spot Bitcoin ETFs “immediately.”

A bipartisan letter signed by U.S. Representatives Tom Emmer, Ritchie Torres, Mike Flood, and Wiley Nickel urged the SEC to stop “discriminat[ing] against spot bitcoin exchange-traded products.”

“A regulated spot bitcoin ETP would increase investors’ protection by making access to bitcoin safer and more transparent,” it said. “Congress has to ensure the SEC approves investment products that meet the requirements set out by Congress.”

Despite the mounting pressure to approve, the SEC said that the regulators were yet to decide on what to do concerning spot Bitcoin ETFs.

“It’s still an active consideration of the commission,” chair Gary Gensler said in his testimony. “We have great respect for the courts.”

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