The Cboe BZX Exchange has withdrawn a proposed rule change that, if approved, would clear the way for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) backed by VanEck and SolidX.
In a notice published Wednesday, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) deputy secretary Eduardo Aleman wrote that the Cboe BZX Exchange had pulled its proposed rule change, which would have allowed it to list shares of the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust if approved. The exchange filed its withdrawal on Jan. 22.
The proposal was filed last June, when VanEck, an investment firm, teamed up with financial services provider SolidX to provide a physically-backed bitcoin ETF to the market (other such proposals have relied on bitcoin futures contracts, rather than the cryptocurrency's price itself).
The SEC delayed any decision on the proposal a number of times, asking for public comment and taking meetings with proponents. The regulator faced a final decision deadline of Feb. 27.
While the notice itself did not provide a reason for the withdrawal, some securities lawyers speculated that the ongoing government shutdown would result in the ETF being denied, as no staffers at the SEC are able to review the proposed rule change.
In an email, VanEck director of digital asset strategy Gabor Gurbacs told CoinDesk that the filing "has been temporarily withdrawn."
"We are actively working with regulators and major market participants to build appropriate market structure frameworks for a Bitcoin ETF and digital assets in general," he said.
"We were engaged in discussions with the SEC about the bitcoin-related issues, custody, market manipulation, prices, and that had to stop. And so, instead of trying to slip through or something, we just had the application pulled and we will re-file when the SEC gets going again," van Eck told the network.
In a previous interview with CoinDesk, attorney Ethan Silver, chair of the broker-dealer practice at Lowenstein Sandler, explained that "if [the SEC] were forced to deal with [the proposal], they would sooner deny it than be put in a position [where it is approved on a technicality]."
SEC image via Shutterstock
This story is developing and will be updated as new information comes in.
The full filing can be found below:
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.