SEC delays decision on Cathie Wood’s Bitcoin ETF

The approval of a regulated crypto derivative is still looking far less likely, as the US regulators have once again deferred their decision on whether to approve any of the proposed Bitcoin ETFs.

Cathie Wood

The new deadline to review Cathie Wood-led Ark Investment Management’s (ARK) spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) has been shifted from 13 August by several weeks to potentially months. Per an official document published by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the agency needs more time to further review the proposed rule change from the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) BZX Exchange.

The regulatory body said in an extension notice that it has a total of 240 days to make a final decision on an application after it starts reviewing the proposal, the SEC disclosure indicates.

Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment Management and 21Shares amended its application back in May after the US Securities and Exchange Commission rejected their proposal for an ETF that would invest directly in bitcoin. As part of the changes, the Switzerland-based investment-products issuer said its product would use US Bank as a qualified custodian, hoping such a tweak will win its bitcoin exchange-traded fund application the SEC’s blessing.

“The regulated market of significant size test does not require that the spot bitcoin market be regulated in order for the Commission to approve this proposal, and precedent makes clear that an underlying market for a spot commodity or currency being a regulated market would actually be an exception to the norm,” the SEC said on Aug. 11.

There are a number of applications underway to get a bitcoin ETF listed, but so far none have been approved by the SEC. The agency only extended the deliberation window or opened the matter to public comments to avoid reaching any decision on a proposal, meaning today’s delay is no surprise.

Other applicants, including BlackRock, Bitwise, VanEck, and WisdomTree, have also filed applications for spot Bitcoin ETFs. ARK’s application was submitted on May 15, and the SEC designated August 13 as the deadline for approval or disapproval. The latest deadline for approval or disapproval of the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF is April 2024, but the SEC is yet to approve a single BTC exchange-traded fund.

Cathie Wood, CEO of ARK Investment Management, previously suggested that her firm might be first in line to receive approval for a spot Bitcoin ETF. However, she then changed her stance and mentioned that the SEC may approve multiple spot Bitcoin ETFs simultaneously.