The SEC Is Now Reviewing 2 Bitcoin ETF Proposals

There are two bitcoin ETFs under review by the SEC, after the VanEck/SolidX proposal was published in the Federal Register Wednesday.

AccessTimeIconFeb 20, 2019 at 10:15 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2024 at 2:05 a.m. UTC
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For the first time since August, there are now multiple bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposals sitting before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The VanEck/SolidX proposal filed with Cboe BZX Exchange has now appeared in Wednesday's edition of the Federal Register, officially kicking off the 45-day clock to an initial decision. It joins another bitcoin ETF proposal filed by Bitwise Asset Management with NYSE Arca, which was published in the register last week.

Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital asset strategy at VanEck, told CoinDesk via email that he believes a bitcoin ETF will serve the public interest if approved.

The company has been actively working with regulators, as well as other major market participants, "to bring simplicity, transparency and professional market standards to digital assets," he said.

VanEck is hoping that this collaboration will let it bring a regulated product with exposure to digital assets to market going forward.

"I ... hope that our investment in regulatory and market education, hard work and commitment will be honored when the time comes," Gurbacs said.

SEC approval?

It might not just be the proposals themselves which secure an approval. Matt Hougan, Bitwise global head of research, told CoinDesk that the crypto ecosystem is "evolving very rapidly," which may aid in getting a product launched.

(Hougan was speaking to his company's specific proposal, though his remarks reflect on the crypto industry more broadly.)

"A year ago there was maybe one qualified crypto custodian ... and now there are half-a-dozen, and that number will go up from here," he noted as one example.

And this is not the only example. A number of advances and new products have entered the space in a relatively short period of time. Hougan explained:

"A little more than year ago, we didn't have futures. A year ago we didn’t have nearly as many firms making markets. A few months ago, you didn’t have folks like Fidelity announced in the space. It’s evolving really, really quickly."

Moreover, he noted, this progress comes despite the broader price movements (the crypto market is currently in its longest bear market since bitcoin was first born a decade ago).

While this progress may be "overshadowed by the price movements," he said there remains a large amount of development within the space.

His comments echo those of Kobre Kim attorney Jake Chervinsky, who previously told CoinDesk that he believes several more months of development within the ecosystem should see the crypto markets mature to the point where the SEC may feel comfortable approving an ETF.

At the time, Chervinsky explained that the key points the SEC will evaluate are bitcoin's valuation, liquidity, custody solutions and market manipulation.

Ultimately, however, a bitcoin ETF approval will depend on how companies approach their proposals.

"The SEC has been extraordinarily clear in the Dalia Blass letter and in the Winklevoss rejection letter in what they will require before you can list a product. It’s up to folks in the industry … to meet those standards," Hougan noted, saying:

"All you can ask for a regulator is to lay out clear bars you have to clear before they will approve something."

SEC image via Shutterstock


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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.

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