The United States Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) may be paving the way for a major change of perspective concerning Bitcoin. The federal authority on the stock exchange announced that it would give its decision concerning the launch of nine Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETF) within the next two months.
Exchange-traded funds consist of mixed portfolios of stock and bonds and even valuable commodities. The key advantage of ETFs is that they are passively managed investments, where the buyers do not have to have in-depth knowledge and monitor the evolution of prices. Thus, the creation of Bitcoin ETFs would mean that Bitcoin will be available for trading on the stock exchange and make it easier for people to invest in it, without having to physically store or hold the cryptocurrency.
However, the SEC has been continually postponing the taking of a decision and, looking back at its past decisions, it is unclear whether the agency has a favourable view of the case for the Bitcoin ETF.
A Long History of Delayed Decisions
The Securities Exchange Commission has kept Bitcoin promoters, investors and enthusiasts on tenterhooks for months, with its series of delayed pronouncements on the founding of Bitcoin ETFs. So far, numerous different proposals, such as the one from the partnership between the blockchain startup SolidX and the investment firm VanEck, as well as ProShares, GraniteShares, and Direxion, are awaiting a decision, although only the first one mentioned, SolidX-VanEck, is a “physical” ETF.
Setting the Deadline – a Complex and Regulated Process
The Securities Exchange Commission is setting its deadlines for giving decisions based on the moment when proposals are officially published in the US Federal Register. After publication, an initial decision is taken within the next 45 days. The SEC can opt to punt the decision by as long as 240 days subsequent to the publication in the US Federal Register.
This is the reason why the SolidX-VanEck consortium has been waiting for an answer to their Bitcoin ETF proposal since June. Until their turn comes to get a yay or nay, two other funds created by ProShares should get an approval or rejection from the SEC on the 23rd of August.
September – a Busy Month for Bitcoin ETFs?
In September, four different applications for Bitcoin ETFs will reach their set deadline. Two funds proposed by GraniteShares on the 5th of January will have the deadline on the 15th of September. One week later, on the 21st of September, four funds created by Direxion have their deadline – the initial proposal date being the 4th of January.
The SolidX-VanDeck Bitcoin ETF will have its deadline on the 30th of September. Of course, the Securities Exchange Commission can opt to give its ruling before these deadlines. However, practical experience indicates that the federal agency has a practice of pushing the final decision as far in the future as possible. In fact, according to the regulations under which it operates, the SEC may choose to set another deadline for all of the Bitcoin ETFs as far as in February next year.
This is certainly a very unnerving moment for the cryptocurrency community, despite the fact that Bitcoin ETFs are not likely to cause tremendous changes in this industry, since it is simply a trading instrument.
Rupert Hackett is the co-founder of Bitcoin Australia, and has a wealth of experience with Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies, including the world’s first Masters in Digital Currencies. He bought his first bitcoin in 2011, and in 2014 immersed himself in the crypto world with Bitcoin Australia and angel investor fund Dominet led by Domenic Carosa.
Quote: “I really think Bitcoin could change the world.”