The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has again moved the deadline for its decision on a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by investment management company VanEck and blockchain startup SolidX. The regulator said in a public notice on Thursday it had set the final deadline to February 27, 2019.
The two companies filed their application on June 20, 2018. It was published for comment in the Federal Register on July 2, and the countdown began. After announcing the first delay in August, the SEC was expected to make a decision by the end of December.
Under the US Securities Exchange Act, the SEC determines whether to approve a proposed rule change to list and trade shares “not later than 180 days after the date of publication of notice of the filing of the proposed rule change.” The regulator explained that as of December 6, it had received more than 1,600 comments on the matter.
“The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to issue an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider this proposed rule change. Besides, the regulator reserves the right to extend the review period for the proposed ETF by not more than 60 days if the Commission determines that a longer period is appropriate,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, many market participants consider the proposed VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF one of the most promising funds in the crypto segment since it differs from other planned vehicles of this kind by being insured and physically backed by Bitcoin. Besides, it is intended to set a high minimum share price, which should create a strong entry barrier for investors and potentially make this product available only to large and institutional players. This should sound appealing to the SEC as it struggles to safeguard unsophisticated retail investors from risky assets.
Bitcoin ETF applications have faced strong resistance from the SEC, which has so far rejected all submitted proposals due to the ongoing regulatory uncertainty over how to handle this asset. In August, the watchdog struck down nine Bitcoin ETF proposals after rejecting shortly before that the application of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the billionaire twins behind the Gemini crypto exchange.