The SEC Postpones Bitcoin ETF Decision Until February

An official document released on Thursday December 6 by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that the decision on a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) has been postponed.

The proposal to list a Bitcoin ETF on the Chicago Board Options Exchange was proposed by investment company VanEck, and SolidX, a blockchain company. In order to list Bitcoin, rule change proposals will need to be met, and the SEC have stated they require more time to review documentation. The new deadline set by the SEC is 27 February 2019.

In the official document, the SEC stated:

“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.”

This news is somewhat expected, the SEC has postponed this ruling before. VanEck and SolidX first filed with the SEC to list a Bitcoin ETF on June 6 2018. The proposed rule change was first published on July  2018, and a decision on the ruling was then postponed until the end of September and then postponed again.

The SEC reopened a comment period for the proposal and to date, they have received 1600 comments. The SEC will likely want to go through the comments thoroughly and address any concerns and need more time to do so. Since the maximum time for consideration is 240 days, the February date will be the drop-dead date where a decision will need to be made.

When the SEC postponed again in September, they were looking for more answers on the following comments:

“What are commenters’ views of the Exchange’s assertions that bitcoin is arguably less susceptible to manipulation than other commodities that underlie ETPs; that the geographically diverse and continuous nature of bitcoin trading makes it difficult and prohibitively costly to manipulate the price of bitcoin; that trading on inside information regarding bitcoin is unlikely; that the fragmentation across bitcoin markets, the relatively slow speed of transactions, and the capital necessary to maintain a significant presence on each trading platform make manipulation of bitcoin prices through continuous trading activity unlikely.”

We can expect a decision to be announced in February. Many people believe the SEC will block the proposal and it will not be approved. However, it at least seems like the SEC is taking the time to consider the matter with due care and attention.