SEC to Decide on NYSE Arca and Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Before End of March 2019

News and Analysis

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced it is starting to review a rule change proposal filed by NYSE Arca and Bitwise Asset Management in regard to launch of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

As reported by CoinDesk, the proposal in question was published in the Federal Register on February 15, meaning the Commission has now 45 days to make its initial decision on whether to approve, reject or extend the proposal, while the general public looking to file responses to the proposal has three weeks to submit comments.

The regulator has at most 240 days to make a final decision on whether to approve or reject the ETF.

NYSE Arca and Bitwise announced their attention to launch a Bitcoin ETF last month, when they filed the revised rule change proposal. However, due to the government shutdown in the U.S., the SEC did not publish the filing in the Federal Register, meaning the agency was not examining the proposal.

Notably, the SEC is yet to approve a Bitcoin ETF, having either rejected a slew of them in the past, or asking for withdrawal.

Recently, VanEck and SolidX withdrew a joint proposal filed with Cboe BZX Exchange due to the U.S. government shutdown. The proposal, first filed in 2018, had faced a final decision date of February 27, and was widely considered to be a strong candidate for approval.

However, conversations between its proponents and regulators lapsed as a result of the shutdown, and VanEck CEO Jan van Eck explained it would be better to pull the proposal and re-file at a later date than to hope it be approved on a technicality. The companies re-filed the proposal the following week, however, it is yet to appear in the Federal Register, meaning the clock has not yet started for this ETF.

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