Spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund applications from several firms have been published on the Federal Register, moving them one step along in the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) process.
According to records updated July 19, the Federal Register received notices of proposed rule changes allowing BTC exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications from BlackRock, Fidelity, Invesco Galaxy, VanEck, and WisdomTree. Publishing the applications in the official journal of the U.S. government gives the SEC a window of opportunity to accept or reject the request, extend the time allowed, or open the application for public comment.
UPDATE: Not much of one though… As predicted and as expected those #Bitcoin ETF applications all hit the federal register today.
— James Seyffart (@JSeyff) July 19, 2023
Publication in the Federal Register was an expected step following the initial filing of the applications in June. Exchanges representing the firms filed amended applications naming crypto firm Coinbase as a surveillance-sharing partner following reports the SEC considered the previous filings insufficient.
The 5 applications followed one from Bitwise published in the register on July 18, with a spot BTC ETF application from Valkyrie expected on July 21. These dates give the SEC an initial window of 45 days — until early August — to reach a decision, but the commission has the option of extending the process for up to 240 days for final approval or denial — until March 2024.
To date, the SEC has not approved a spot investment vehicle with direct exposure to cryptocurrencies like BTC, but began allowing ETFs linked to BTC futures starting in 2021. In June, Volatility Shares Trust launched a leveraged Bitcoin futures ETF, one of the first of its kind in the United States.
The SEC has been under scrutiny from fellow regulators, lawmakers, and members of public amid a federal court ruling suggesting the XRP token was not a security, and chair Gary Gensler’s continued policy of regulation by enforcement action. Both Binance and Coinbase, among others, have been targets of lawsuits by the SEC in 2023.