Cboe Kicks Fidelity-Linked Bitcoin ETF Application to SEC

The SEC has 45 days to make an initial decision.

AccessTimeIconMay 10, 2021 at 10:33 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:53 p.m. UTC

Another would-be bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) has taken a step toward regulatory review.

Cboe BZX Exchange has filed a 19b-4 form, acknowledging its support of Wise Origin's bitcoin ETF application and kicking the process to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Wise Origin, a fund affiliated with investment giant Fidelity, first filed for the ETF with the SEC in March. The SEC, however, needs an exchange partner like Cboe or NYSE Arca to file a corresponding 19b-4 form before it will consider the application.

With Cboe's filing on Monday, the ball is in the SEC's court. The agency has an initial 45 days to make a decision on the ETF application.

Bitcoin ETF proponents claim such a product would open bitcoin to more investors, namely those who are wary of investing in bitcoin directly, such as retail traders, and those who may be able to invest only in certain regulated investment vehicles, such as some institutional or financial traders.

The SEC, the U.S.'s federal securities regulator, is also considering bitcoin ETF applications filed by VanEck, Kryptoin and WisdomTree. All three firms have also filed with Cboe BZX Exchange. Another would-be ETF issuer, Valkyrie, is working with NYSE Arca, which has also filed a 19b-4 form.

Four other bitcoin ETF applications and one ether ETF application have also been filed, though they lack the requisite 19b-4 forms. Those include Simplify, SkyBridge, NYDIG and Galaxy Digital (bitcoin ETFs), and VanEck (ether ETF).

The SEC has typically taken a full 240 days – the maximum time allowed by law – to evaluate a bitcoin ETF application. In the past, the agency has rejected every crypto ETF application it has received, though industry viewers say this may be the year such an ETF is finally approved.

The bitcoin market's growing maturity and evolution in recent years, as well as the possibility that new SEC chief Gary Gensler may be friendlier to crypto than his predecessor, Jay Clayton, are two signs that a crypto ETF will be approved.


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