The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has chosen to exercise its maximum allowable time frame for evaluating a spot Bitcoin ETF proposal from ARK 21 Shares. This delay grants the SEC an additional 60 days to contemplate listing ARK 21 Shares’ investment vehicle on the Cboe BZX Exchange, with a final decision deadline of January 10. This movement implies that the SEC is taking the maximum time allowed to reach a final decision on a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, or ETF, offering from ARK 21 Shares.
In a notice dated September 26, the SEC disclosed its intention to extend the period for deliberation on whether to approve or disapprove a proposed rule change that would permit ARK 21 Shares’ spot Bitcoin ETF to operate on the Cboe BZX Exchange. A prior delay, granted on August 11, had initially provided the regulator until November 11 to decide on approval, disapproval, or another deferral.
The SEC explained its decision: “The Commission finds that it is appropriate to designate a longer period within which to issue an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change […] and the issues raised therein.”
Curiously, the SEC opted to extend the evaluation period weeks before the following deadlines in October and November, a departure from its usual practice of filing delays shortly before impending deadlines. Consequently, the SEC’s final deadline for reviewing ARK 21 Shares’ proposal is now scheduled for January 10, marking 240 days since the initial application was submitted. Meanwhile, GlobalX’s ETF proposal will face its next deadline on November 21.
This decision came the same day the SEC delayed a verdict on a Bitcoin ETF proposal from fund manager GlobalX. The reasoning behind the SEC’s choice to grant extended periods for evaluating spot Bitcoin ETF applications remains to be determined.
Earlier, a group of four U.S. Representatives had sent a letter to SEC Chair Gary Gensler, urging him to “immediately” approve a spot Bitcoin ETF. They argued that the SEC employed inconsistent and discriminatory criteria when considering ETFs tied to crypto futures instead of spot investment instruments.
As of the current date, the SEC has not approved any spot Bitcoin ETF to be listed on a U.S.-based exchange. Speculation had arisen in the industry that the SEC might reconsider pending ETF applications following its legal defeat to Grayscale in August.
It’s important to note that the following deadlines for spot crypto ETF applications from seven significant firms, including BlackRock, WisdomTree, Invesco Galaxy, Valkyrie, Bitwise, VanEck, and Fidelity, are slated for October. The SEC retains the authority to extend or postpone these deadlines until March.