Recently, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has postponed its decision on the proposed spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications submitted by Franklin Templeton and Hashdex. This decision extends the timeline for these two applicants, marking a significant moment in the ongoing saga of Bitcoin ETF approvals.
Spot Bitcoin ETF applicants face new SEC delays
The SEC’s move was a surprise, especially concerning Franklin Templeton’s application. The decision was made well ahead of the January 1 deadline. Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart noted this early decision, highlighting Franklin Templeton’s unique position as the only issuer that hadn’t submitted an updated S-1, the offering prospectus. This early decision suggests a potential alignment of approvals for all applicants by January 10, 2024.
Scott Johnsson, a finance lawyer at Davis Polk, weighed in on the SEC’s strategy. He suggested that this early decision is likely a tactical move to conclude the comment period before January 10. This would enable the SEC to approve all applications simultaneously. Johnsson pointed out that Global X, another applicant, has a comment period ending on December 29. The SEC’s scheduling indicates a possible approval period between January 2 and January 10.
The SEC is seeking public input on these proposals as part of the approval process. The regulator has opened 35 days for comments and responses from publishing the applicants’ Forms 19b-4 in the Federal Register. This form is a crucial regulatory document for listing and trading securities and is separate from Form S-1.
The delay in the decision extends the timeline for the final two of the twelve spot Bitcoin ETF applicants, awaiting their second deadline decision. All other applicants are now waiting for their third deadline, except ARK Invest, which faces its final deadline on January 10.
In a related development, Franklin Templeton updated its prospectus for their spot in Bitcoin ETF on the same day as the SEC’s decision. This move, as noted by Seyffart, aligns with the narrative that the SEC is preparing to synchronize the approval of all twelve spot Bitcoin ETF applicants. The aim is to ensure a uniform launch date, maintaining fairness in the first spot Bitcoin ETF race.
January deadlines loom: SEC’s impact on crypto integration
The SEC’s decisions and the ensuing delays significantly affect the cryptocurrency market. Approving a spot Bitcoin ETF is a milestone that could bring more mainstream acceptance and institutional investment into cryptocurrency. Investors and market watchers keenly observe the SEC’s moves, as these decisions could set the tone for future regulatory approaches toward digital assets.
The SEC’s latest move in delaying decisions and seeking public input reflects the complexity and importance of the approval process for spot Bitcoin ETFs. With the market awaiting these decisions, the regulator’s actions in the coming weeks will be crucial in shaping the future of cryptocurrency investments. As the January deadlines approach, all eyes are on the SEC for what could be a landmark moment in integrating digital assets into mainstream finance.