The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has opted to extend its review period for the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF. This decision comes on the heels of bipartisan pressure from lawmakers urging SEC Chair Gary Gensler to expedite the approval of a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund. However, the SEC has chosen a more cautious route, setting a new deadline of January 10, 2024, to make its final decision.
In a Tuesday filing, the SEC stated: “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.”
A pattern of postponements
Moreover, this isn’t the first time the SEC has delayed its decision on cryptocurrency-related financial products. The regulatory body also pushed back its verdict on the Global X Bitcoin Trust to November 21. Additionally, the SEC has been actively reviewing other high-profile applications from financial giants like BlackRock, Fidelity, VanEck, and Invesco.
Most recently, the SEC extended decision deadlines for multiple Bitcoin Trust applications, including those from BlackRock and Fidelity, until October 17. The deadline for the Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund was also extended to October 19.
The SEC’s hesitancy isn’t without reason. The agency has cited concerns over potential fraud and market manipulation as key factors in its cautious approach. While the SEC did greenlight the trading of the first bitcoin futures ETF in 2021, it has yet to approve a spot bitcoin ETF.
Significantly, ARK CEO Cathie Wood had anticipated this delay. She expressed her belief that if the SEC were to approve a Bitcoin ETF, it would likely approve multiple funds simultaneously. This perspective adds another layer to the ongoing narrative, suggesting that the SEC might be coordinating a more comprehensive strategy for the introduction of cryptocurrency-based financial products.
Besides these high-profile delays, the SEC’s cautious approach has broader implications for the financial markets. It signals a regulatory environment that, while not entirely dismissive of cryptocurrencies, demands a higher level of scrutiny and compliance