SEC Extends Review Period for ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF
* The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) extends the review period for the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF proposal till January 10, 2024.
* The delay follows the regulator's previous postponement, pushing the decision 240 days post the initial application.
* This extension aligns with the SEC's recent deferment on GlobalX's Bitcoin ETF, amidst calls from U.S. Representatives for swifter approvals.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has deferred the decision on the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF application, extending the review period till January 10, 2024, as per the notice released on September 26, 2023. This move marks the second delay following the prior postponement on August 11, which had set November 11 as the decision deadline.
The ARK 21Shares proposal, aimed at listing a spot Bitcoin ETF on the Cboe BZX Exchange, has been under the SEC's scrutiny since its filing on April 25, 2023. The regulatory body published the proposed rule change for public commentary on May 15, 2023, initiating a timeline for approval or disapproval.
Extended Review Period
The extension comes as the SEC invokes Section 19(b)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, allowing for a 60-day extension beyond the initial 180-day review period. This provision facilitates the Commission in ensuring ample time for a thorough examination of the proposed rule change, especially as it underwent three amendments, with the latest being on July 11, 2023.
The regulatory body emphasizes the necessity of this elongated timeframe to adequately address the issues encapsulated in the amended proposal. This move resonates with the SEC's similar postponement concerning GlobalX's Bitcoin ETF offering, further accentuating the cautious approach adopted by the regulator towards cryptocurrency-based financial products.
Broader Regulatory Landscape
The SEC's cautious stance unfolds amidst a broader call for expedited approvals. A faction of U.S. Representatives recently urged the SEC Chair, Gary Gensler, to accelerate the approval process for spot Bitcoin ETFs, criticizing the existing "inconsistent and discriminatory standards."
Despite these pressures, the SEC continues to exhibit a meticulous approach, having not approved any spot BTC ETF listings on U.S. soil. The industry watches keenly as major firms like BlackRock, WisdomTree, and Fidelity await the SEC's verdict on their respective ETF proposals, slated for review in October, with potential extensions leading into March.
Implications and Industry Response
The SEC's decision prolongs a period of uncertainty for ARK 21Shares and other stakeholders keen on advancing Bitcoin ETF offerings. The delay also mirrors the regulatory hesitancy, keeping many in the industry and investors on edge as they await a favorable nod that could potentially unlock a significant capital influx into the cryptocurrency realm.
The regulatory trajectory also casts a spotlight on the SEC's ongoing deliberation in assimilating crypto-based financial products within the conventional regulatory frameworks, a narrative that continues to evolve with the rapidly expanding digital asset ecosystem.
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