45 Days Left for SEC to Decide on CBOE-VanEck Bitcoin ETF

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On April 5th, 2019, the SEC will have to announce their decision to either approve, deny or extend the decision-making period on Cboe/VanEck/Solid X’s Bitcoin ETF.


The VanEck/SolidX proposal will join one filed by Bitwise Investment Management and NYSE Arca, which was published in the Federal Register on Feb. 15, meaning the SEC has until the beginning of April to decide on it or postpone the decision.

The VanEck/SolidX proposal was filed last year, and was widely expected to be the first proposal to be approved by the U.S. securities regulator. However, this proposal was withdrawn during the longest U.S. government shutdown in history and re-filed at the end of January.

If approved, Bitcoin ETF could potentially bring new liquidity into a bitcoin market that is starting to show signs of recovery. However, it’s important to remember that the SEC can give itself up to three extensions on any rule change proposal, meaning it could still be months before a final decision is reached on either ETF.

Early Feedback
While the formal comment period has not officially opened yet, the VanEck/SolidX proposal is already receiving feedback.

The filing’s first response, listed as from Sam Ahn at Hana Trading, asks how the companies are defining bitcoin’s intrinsic value. The question of intrinsic value is important for investors who may consider buying into the ETF, Ahn explains.

Ahn’s response links to seven previous responses on different ETF proposals, all of which also question bitcoin’s intrinsic value.

Bitwise Asset Management chief executive Hunter Horsley expressed optimism regarding the prospects of a crypto-backed fund. Horsley, who has headed a proposal himself, explained that cryptocurrencies as a whole are in their “most viable” state ever, adding that an ETF tracking these assets is more of an inevitability than not. On the matter of the SEC’s concerns regarding potential market manipulation and custody, the Bitwise CEO was confident that strides were being made to amend the issues.

Even an SEC commissioner once remarked that eventually, an application will make it through the regulatory hoops. Brian Qunitez of the CFTC also made comments on the matter of Bitcoin ETF, claiming that his peers at the SEC have scant grounds to deny such a vehicle.

Commissioner Hester Pierce said that she has lowered expectations for an ETF arrival:

“If you have been eagerly waiting for the arrival of Bitcoin ETF, maybe it’s time to lower your expectations further!”

Commissioner Pierce doesn’t hesitate to note the ‘arcane rules’ of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) behind this long delay.

Pierce was currently speaking at an event at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

She said:

“We have applications. Those are subject to a very specific time frame where we have to act within a certain amount of time, and so that’s what it’s going to depend on. And those are very arcane rules as to whether it happens or not, so I can’t speculate on the timing.”

Convincing the SEC
Pierce is popularly called as the “crypto mom” in the Bitcoin community for the cryptocurrency in the past. Unlike the traditionally conservative agency (SEC), Pierce sees a huge potential in crypto assets. Pierce has stayed quite open to the idea of crypto assets while trying to convince her colleagues.

“You all know that I am working on trying to convince my colleagues to have a bit more of an open mind when it comes to crypto,” she said.

During a speech last week at the University of Missouri School of Law, the crypto mom admitted that the SEC has a tendency to run away from anything related to digital currencies.

“We rightfully fault investors for jumping blindly at anything labeled crypto, but at times we seem to be equally impulsive in running away from anything labeled crypto,” Hester Pierce added.
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