According to a recent report by CNBC, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is rapidly approaching a key deadline for making a ruling on ARK’s application for a Bitcoin (BTC) Spot Exchange Traded Fund (ETF).
With the global asset manager’s deadline set for August 13, the industry eagerly awaits the SEC’s thumbs up or thumbs down.
Bitcoin ETF Decision Could Be Pushed To 2024?
ARK’s Bitcoin ETF application was officially published in the Federal Register on May 15, triggering a countdown for the SEC’s decision. A subsequent filing on June 15 designated August 13 as the date by which the SEC must either approve or disapprove the proposed rule change or initiate proceedings for determining disapproval.
However, it’s important to note that the SEC has the authority to extend the deadline by a maximum of 240 days, potentially prolonging the final response until January 10, 2024, for ARK’s application and until March 2024 for the other applicants.
Apart from ARK, several other organizations have thrown their hats into the ring, seeking approval for spot BTC ETFs. The list includes Bitwise, BlackRock, VanEck, WisdomTree, Valkyrie, First Trust Galaxy, and Fidelity Wise Origin.
Additionally, Grayscale has filed to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into a Bitcoin Spot ETF. So if the SEC ultimately approves a BTC ETF, there would be growing calls for simultaneous approvals to ensure fairness and avoid favoritism among the applicants.
Cracking Down On Manipulation
Unlike previous spot Bitcoin ETF applications, the current crop of filings includes a novel addition: a “surveillance sharing” agreement with exchanges such as Nasdaq and Cboe.
This agreement aims to facilitate the exchange of information on market trading activity, clearing activity, and customer identification, reducing the risk of market manipulation.
It also seeks to safeguard investor assets from unauthorized diversion, addressing concerns raised in previous SEC rejections. However, it remains uncertain whether these changes will be sufficient to sway the SEC’s decision.
Many believe that the SEC will not make a move unless compelled to do so. Supporters of a spot BTC ETF draw inspiration from the ongoing court case between Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) and the SEC.
Grayscale sued the SEC for refusing to allow the trust’s conversion to a Spot Bitcoin ETF. Over the course of the case, judges questioned the SEC’s denial, highlighting its prior approval of Bitcoin futures agreements with similar surveillance provisions.
This legal process puts pressure on the SEC to provide specific reasons for its decisions, potentially leading to improved clarity and a more informed ruling.
Despite growing optimism within the crypto community, some remain skeptical about the SEC’s willingness to approve a Spot Bitcoin ETF.
Critics point out that the SEC has rejected every Spot Bitcoin ETF application in the past decade. However, recent developments, including the approval of a leveraged Bitcoin ETF and the surge in applications for an Ethereum futures ETF, indicate a changing landscape.
Bloomberg Intelligence analysts have estimated a 65% chance of a Bitcoin ETF approval, citing factors such as the SEC’s struggles in the Grayscale litigation and potential political pressure from BlackRock and Democrats.
Overall, as the SEC’s deadline for ARK’s Bitcoin ETF decision approaches, the crypto industry holds its breath, anticipating a ruling that could shape the future of cryptocurrency investment. While the SEC can extend the decision-making process, industry stakeholders await a fair and orderly resolution.
Whether the SEC gives the green light, rejects the application, or decides to prolong the suspense, the outcome will undoubtedly have a significant impact on Bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency market.
Featured image from Unsplash, chart from TradingView.com