The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently deferred its decision on the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), causing further delay to the final verdict. This decision by the SEC has significant implications for the cryptocurrency market and the future of ETFs.

On September 26, the SEC filed a deferral on the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF, recognizing the rule change proposed by the Cboe BZX. Although the filing was submitted on April 25, 2023, it was not published for comment until May 15, and the SEC designated a longer approval period on June 15. The initial deadline for approval or rejection was set for November 11, 2023, but the SEC has now extended it by an additional 60 days to January 10, 2024. This deferral also applies to the decision on GlobalX’s Bitcoin ETF, which is unrelated to the ARK 21Shares ETF.

Implications for Pending Applications

The delay in the SEC’s decision on the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF and other similar applications may indicate the regulatory agency’s future treatment of pending ETF applications. Since many asset management firms submitted filings for spot Bitcoin ETFs following BlackRock’s application in June, this delay sets a precedent for other ETFs awaiting approval. While ARK’s ETF is only delayed until January 2024, other decisions could be postponed until as late as March 2024.

ARK Invest CEO and CIO Cathie Wood anticipated the SEC’s decision delay in August. Despite the delay, Wood remains optimistic that the SEC will eventually approve several funds, including ARK’s Bitcoin ETF. The filing submitted by ARK Invest was made considerably earlier than many other firms, which may work in their favor when the final decision is made.

Lawmakers’ Calls for Approval

In a recent development, several U.S. lawmakers have urged the SEC to approve a Bitcoin ETF. They issued a letter addressing Chairman Gary Gensler and several commissioners, emphasizing the potential benefits of a Bitcoin ETF for the market. The lawmakers’ letter may influence the SEC’s decision-making process and further shape the future of Bitcoin ETFs.

The SEC’s decision to defer the approval of the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF has significant ramifications for the cryptocurrency market. The delay in the decision not only affects ARK’s ETF but also sets a precedent for other pending applications. The involvement of U.S. lawmakers adds further pressure on the SEC to approve a Bitcoin ETF. It remains to be seen how the SEC will ultimately rule on the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF and whether it will pave the way for more ETFs in the future.


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