The regulator now has 45 days to authorize, refuse, or extend the approval period on the application.
On Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) acknowledged VanEck’s 19b-4 Form for its bitcoin (BTC, +5.83 percent) exchange-traded fund (ETF) submission, setting off a 45-day period for the SEC to make an initial decision on the request.
If accepted, the ETF will be the first open bitcoin exchange-traded product in the United States, considering the crypto community’s long demand for such a product. The SEC has previously denied any bitcoin ETF proposal, including VanEck’s previous attempts, citing concerns about market manipulation and other issues.
However, industry insiders suggest that under incoming Chair Gary Gensler, a former member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) who has been a vocal supporter of crypto and blockchain, teaching courses on the technology at MIT in recent years, the agency may finally be able to authorize one.
VanEck applied for the ETF with the Cboe BZX Exchange earlier this year, and the 19b-4 was released by Cboe in early March. The general public will have 21 days after the paper is released in the Federal Register (the nation’s logbook) to post comments on the SEC’s portal.
Before making a final decision, the SEC will extend the review period for up to 240 days. It has often extended these decisions to their maximum time limit when reviewing previous applications.
Following the rejection of several applications in late 2019 and early 2020, a number of other firms, including Valkyrie and WisdomTree, have applied for bitcoin ETFs in recent months. Grayscale, a division of CoinDesk’s parent company, Digital Currency Group, has a range of work openings for ETF specialists.
Recent ETF approvals in Canada could indicate that one is on the way in the United States as well. Three of the first North American bitcoin ETFs have already started trading, with one seeing nearly $500 million in assets under control in the first few days.