SEC delays at least 3 bitcoin ETF decisions

The US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday said it needs more time to decide the fate of the spot bitcoin ETFs proposed by WisdomTree, Valkyrie and Invesco — bumping back a decision on the products to at least mid-October. 

The regulator, which has never allowed such a product to come to market, said in filings that it would delay its ruling on the proposals by at least another 45 days.  

“The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the issues raised therein,” documents said in response to the three proposals.

For the SEC, it’s a customary filing within 45 days of publishing a proposal in the federal register. The regulator did not offer a specific reason for the delay.

It represents the first of several deadlines the SEC has within a 240-day period to address Invesco, WisdomTree and Valkyrie’s plans.

The SEC was expected to respond to filings from a range of bitcoin spot ETF hopefuls ahead of Labor Day weekend. It is slated to address similar proposals by BlackRock, Fidelity, Bitwise, and VanEck by the end of this week. 

The SEC saying it needs more time to rule on WisdomTree, Valkyrie and Invesco’s proposals was not unexpected — particularly after the regulator delayed its ruling on a similar planned fund by Ark Invest and 21Shares last month. 

The regulator said at the time it would “institute proceedings” to determine whether to permit the Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF to begin trading and requested public comments. 

Some industry watchers hopeful of spot bitcoin ETF approval have said they expect such an outcome to come closer to the end of the year, or in 2024. Bloomberg Intelligence analysts raised their odds of spot bitcoin ETF approval by the end of 2023 from 65% to 75% after Grayscale Investments won its case against the SEC Tuesday in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

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