SEC Postpones Its Decisions Regarding Three Bitcoin ETF Proposals Yet Again

August 14, 2019 / by Nibir Reza

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has again delayed the decision regarding listing of the VanEck ETF to October 18th, while the listing of Bitwise on NYSE Arca is postponed to October 13th. They have also delayed the decision regarding Wilshire Phoenix’s US Bitcoin & Treasury Investment Trust until September 29th.

The SEC has been continuously delaying its decisions since the start of this year saying:

“The Commission finds it 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 this proposed rule change.”

Bitwise addressed the SEC’s concerns by publishing several reports in which it claimed that the actual Bitcoin market is pretty small, well-regulated, and is governed much better. They also claim that it tightly coordinates with the CME’s futures market. 

According to Bitwise’s claims, the market is highly efficient as well, saying 95% of reported Bitcoin trade volume isn’t real.

In fact, a lot of individuals from the industry have expressed support for this ETF proposal from Bitwise. Some names worth mentioning include Spencer Bogart from Blockchain Capital, Matthew Walsh from Castle Island Ventures, Sam McIngvale from Coinbase Custody, and Kristin Smith from Blockchain Association among many others.

VanEck filed their proposal with CBOE BZX in January, but it was pulled later on due to a long government shutdown. The companies did try again later in that same month, right after the ETF proposal filing from Bitwise Asset Management, but to no avail.

VanEck’s application, however, is still running and that might be a healthy sign considering that the SEC has diverted applications from Direxion, ProShares, Gemini, and GraniteShares due to the manipulation reports in the Bitcoin markets.

In the “Order Instituting Proceedings to Determine Whether to Approve or Disapprove a Proposed Rule Change to List and Trade Shares of the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust,” it’s noted by the SEC that they have received 25 public submissions about VanEck’s proposal.

Now, they’re asking again for further public feedback and have very specific questions about the nature as well as stability of these Bitcoin markets.

An S-1 was filed by the Wilshire Phoenix United States Bitcoin and Treasury Investment Trust earlier in January, and their amended proposal was submitted on May 21st, as it proposed a new ETP model which grouped together the Bitcoin and T-bills to attract new investors towards crypto.

They believed this T-bills proposal had solved the issue. They were also of the view that the Coinbase Custody (with up to $200m insurance) would be used by the trust along with short-term treasuries as well as cash equivalents held by the UMB Financial Corporation. This gives the SEC under 45 days for passing their ruling on that proposal and the retail shares would then trade on the NYSE Arca subject to approval, introducing cryptocurrency to a broader market.  It seems, however, that the plan did not work out as expected.

As there hasn’t been any real support for crypto from the SEC, rational concerns do exist that expanding its stability may not be enough for getting approval.