Countdown Restarts Today for SEC Decision on CBOE-VanEck Bitcoin ETF
Originally published on: CoinDesk
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February 19, 2019
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may make an initial decision on not one, but two different bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETFs) proposals by April 5.
A bitcoin ETF proposal submitted (for a second time) by VanEck, SolidX and the Cboe BZX Exchange is expected to be formally published in the Federal Register Wednesday, kicking off the initial 45-day clock for approval, rejection or extension. The proposal was first posted on the SEC’s website on Feb. 13.
Once the proposal is officially published, the general public will have three weeks from Feb. 20 (meaning until March 13) to file their initial responses to it. Then the SEC will have another three weeks, until April 5, to make a decision or give itself an extension.
At the moment, the proposal appears in the Public Inspection section of the Federal Register website, meaning it has not yet been officially published. As the current page notes, “only official editions of the Federal Register provide legal notice to the public and judicial notice to the courts,” while the most recent version of the proposal itself says that it is scheduled to be published Wednesday.
The VanEck/SolidX proposal will join one filed by Bitwise Investment Management and NYSE Arca, which was published in the Federal Register on Feb. 15, meaning the SEC has until the beginning of April to decide on it or postpone the decision.
The VanEck/SolidX proposal was previously filed last year, and was widely expected to be the first proposal to be approved by the U.S. securities regulator. However, this proposal was withdrawn during the longest U.S. government shutdown in history and re-filed at the end of January.
If approved, an ETF could potentially bring new liquidity into a bitcoin market that is starting to show signs of recovery. However, it’s important to remember that the SEC can give itself up to three extensions on any rule change proposal, meaning it could still be months before a final decision is reached on either ETF.
While the formal comment period has not officially opened yet, the VanEck/SolidX proposal is already receiving feedback.
The filing’s first response, listed as from Sam Ahn at Hana Trading, asks how the companies are defining bitcoin’s intrinsic value. The question of intrinsic value is important for investors who may consider buying into the ETF, Ahn explains.
Ahn’s response links to seven previous responses on different ETF proposals, all of which also question bitcoin’s intrinsic value.
Gabor Gurbacs, VanEck’s digital asset strategy lead, declined to comment on this response.
Correction (03:50 UTC, Feb. 20, 2019): This article previously said the Bitwise proposal was filed last year. The VanEck/SolidX proposal was first filed in 2018.
Gabor Gurbacs image via CoinDesk archives