Continued Delays SEC Postpones Ruling on BlackRock and Fidelity Bitcoin ETFs

Author: Ben Strack & Katherine Ross, Blockworks; Translation: Song Xue, LianGuai

The list of Bitcoin ETF applications that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is not ready to rule on continues to grow, with BlackRock, Fidelity, Bitwise, and VanEck all postponing their applications on Thursday.

The desire for more time from the SEC has become a trend, as WisdomTree, Valkyrie, and Invesco have made similar decisions to postpone their proposals.

Similar to previous delays, the SEC stated in the latest batch of filings that the delay is to “allow sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the issues raised therein.”

The regulatory agency now has at least 45 more days to consider these proposals, pushing the new deadline to mid-October. The SEC can then approve, reject, or further delay its decision.

Since the four proposals were published in the Federal Register in mid-July, there is a total of 240 days for the SEC to make a decision on the planned products. This allows the SEC to either allow them to trade or block them until the final deadline of March 2024.

BlackRock, which manages over $9 trillion in assets, made headlines in June when it applied for the iShares Bitcoin Trust Fund. Their plans prompted other companies that had previously attempted to launch similar products to resubmit their applications.

Fidelity, another financial services giant, is also among them. Later that month, it refiled its application for the Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust Fund. The company first applied for a Bitcoin ETF in 2021, but the proposal was rejected by the SEC in January 2022.

Despite fund issuers applying to launch a physically-backed Bitcoin ETF as early as 2013, the SEC has never allowed them to move forward.

Last month, the SEC postponed its decision on similar funds proposed by Ark Invest and 21Shares, stating in a filing at the time that it would “institute proceedings” and seek public input. The 240-day deadline for the SEC to make a decision on the product proposal is set to expire on January 10, 2024.

Just a few days ago, a court approved Grayscale’s petition asking the SEC to review its application to convert the Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into an ETF.

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