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SEC Delays VanEck Bitcoin ETF Decision to June at Earliest

The SEC has yet to approve any bitcoin ETFs in the U.S.

Apr 28, 2021 at 3:08 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:48 p.m. UTC

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pushed back making a decision on VanEck’s proposed bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to at least June.

The securities regulator announced Wednesday it was designating a longer deliberative period for the bitcoin ETF application, saying it needed to ensure it has “sufficient time” to evaluate the proposal. There are 10 active bitcoin ETF applications, including VanEck's, and the agency is currently looking at three of them.

A bitcoin ETF could be key for mainstream adoption because it would be a regulated product allowing financial institutions and retail traders to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency without having to invest in it directly.

“The Commission designates June 17, 2021, as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove, or institute proceedings to determine whether to disapprove, the proposed rule change,” states the filing, signed by Assistant Secretary J. Matthew DeLesDernier.

The SEC can take up to 240 days to determine whether it will approve or disapprove the ETF application. To date the agency has taken the full 240 days for most of the bitcoin ETF applications it has considered, and then rejected every application. 

Proponents believe 2021 may finally be the year a bitcoin ETF is approved in the U.S., citing the launch of several such products in Canada and the recent confirmation of apparently crypto-friendly regulator Gary Gensler as the chair of the SEC.

VanEck filed its ETF proposal at the end of 2020, with Cboe BZX filing a 19b-4 form formally announcing its intention to act as VanEck’s exchange partner earlier this year. 

The SEC is also looking at Kryptoin and WisdomTree’s bitcoin ETF applications. Other applicants, ranging from financial services giant Fidelity to former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci’s new firm, await their own evaluations.

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