The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has again deferred its decision on the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF), causing further uncertainty in the market. This latest filing, dated September 26, highlights the SEC’s ongoing indecisiveness regarding the approval and listing of the ETF proposed by Cboe BZX.
Cboe BZX initially submitted the filing on April 25, 2023, but it was not published for comment in the Federal Register until May 15. Subsequently, on June 15, the SEC designated a longer approval period, extending the deadline for its decision. The agency is now required to issue an approval, rejection, or initiate proceedings that will determine the fate of the proposal by January 10, 2024. This delay comes as a significant setback for ARK 21Shares and its investors who were hoping for a quicker resolution.
The SEC’s postponement of the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF decision has far-reaching implications for other pending applications. Many asset management firms have submitted similar filings for spot Bitcoin ETFs since BlackRock’s mid-June application. However, ARK’s filing was submitted considerably earlier, placing them in a unique position. While the SEC can delay ARK’s ETF decision until January 2024, it has the authority to delay other decisions as late as March 2024. The delays affecting ARK 21Shares and other ETFs may indicate the SEC’s approach to future Bitcoin ETFs.
ARK Invest CEO and CIO, Cathie Wood, had already anticipated the delay in the decision on her company’s filing. In August, Wood suggested that the SEC would likely take its time in making a determination. Despite the setback, Wood expressed confidence that the SEC would eventually approve several funds. Her optimistic outlook reflects the broader sentiment within the industry, with hopes still high for the eventual green light for Bitcoin ETFs.
The delay in approving the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF has prompted several U.S. lawmakers to apply pressure on the SEC. In a letter addressed to Chairman Gary Gensler and several commissioners, these lawmakers urged the regulatory body to approve a Bitcoin ETF. This push from lawmakers underscores the growing demand for easier access to Bitcoin investment products and highlights the importance of the SEC’s decision and its potential impact on the market.
The SEC’s decision to defer the approval of the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF is a significant setback for the cryptocurrency industry. The delays raise concerns about the agency’s approach to Bitcoin ETFs and create uncertainty for investors. However, industry leaders remain hopeful, expressing confidence that the SEC will ultimately approve Bitcoin ETFs. With pressure mounting from lawmakers, the SEC faces increasing expectations to address the demand for investment products in the growing digital asset market.