SEC Delays VanEck Bitcoin ETF Decision until June

The SEC has historically postponed its decision on bitcoin ETFs as much as possible before ultimately rejecting them.

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key takeaways

  • The SEC said in a filing Wednesday that it will “designate a longer period” to take action so it has “sufficient time to consider” the proposed rule change proposal
  • The agency has up to 240 days to make a decision

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has postponed its decision on the status of the VanEck Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) until June.   

The SEC said in a filing Wednesday that it will “designate a longer period” to take action so it has “sufficient time to consider” the proposed rule change proposal, which would allow bitcoin ETFs to be listed on exchanges, and relevant comments on it.

The SEC has historically postponed its decision on bitcoin ETFs as much as possible before ultimately rejecting them. Industry observers are watching this round of bitcoin ETF applications to see how new leadership at the SEC (Gary Gensler was sworn in as SEC chair earlier this month) may affect the decision-making process as well as the change in the nature of cryptocurrency markets, which have gained a significant amount of institutional interest and adoption in the past year.

Plus, three Canadian bitcoin ETFs have been approved in that time and many are hoping they’ll serve as a precedent for approval by the SEC.

The postponement was “not a surprise” and “consistent with [the SEC’s] handling of previous requests to approve the issuance of a bitcoin ETF,” according to Andrew Hinkes, an attorney at Carlton Fields and adjunct professor at NYU Stern School of Business and NYU Law School.

“It’s hard to say whether the postponement was due to any specific aspect of the application being considered or whether others will be treated the same way,” he told Blockworks. “Nothing on the face of the notice indicates there’s anything specific about that particular application that caused the designation of additional time to consider the application.”

The agency has up to 240 days to make a decision. VanEck’s is among 10 active applications for bitcoin ETFs.

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