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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said it needs a "longer period" to evaluate several spot Bitcoin ETF applications, including those of BlackRock, Wisdom Tree Funds, Invesco and Galaxy Digital, and Valkyrie Funds.
One by one, the SEC disclosed delays today for nearly every outstanding spot Bitcoin ETF application, except for Global X’s—the SEC’s deadline to respond is Oct. 7. Notably, the regulator saved BlackRock, one of the world’s largest asset managers, for last.
According to filings from the securities regulator, it'll need until at least Oct. 17 to decide whether to approve or reject most of the applications. The SEC set a fresh deadline of Oct. 16 for Bitwise's application, while Valkyrie received a deadline of Oct. 19. The SEC would have otherwise been due to announce a decision on the applications before Saturday, Sept. 2.
Earlier this week there was a spike in anticipation for a spot Bitcoin ETF—an exchange-traded fund that tracks the price of Bitcoin—after a court sided with crypto asset manager Grayscale in its own effort to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into a spot Bitcoin ETF.
But as experts have pointed out, the court ruling isn't the same as an approval and the securities regulator still has 45 days to appeal the judge's opinion. An appeal is possible but unlikely, Coffey Modica of LLP Joseph A. D’Avanzo previously told Decrypt.
Market analysts, such as Bloomberg’s ETF expert James Seyffart, said earlier this week they expected the SEC to delay decisions on the remaining Bitcoin ETF applications, as it digests the court order that poked holes in its reasoning for repeated rejections.
The agency has swatted down spot Bitcoin ETF applications since 2013, citing fraud and market manipulation concerns. But judges earlier this week said the logic doesn’t track, considering the SEC has approved applications for futures Bitcoin ETFs since 2021.
As the SEC’s delays came about, Bitcoin moved lower. As of this writing, the coin was down 4.1% over the past day at around $26,100, according to CoinGecko.
The SEC has recently delayed decisions for other spot Bitcoin ETF hopefuls as well. ARK Invest, the investment firm led by Cathie Wood, filed an application for the Ark21Shares ETF in June 2021. The agency punted earlier this month.
With several Wall Street titans in the mix with spot Bitcoin ETF applications of their own, including BlackRock and Fidelity, crypto’s years-long quest to establish a spot Bitcoin ETF has gained momentum and arguably resembles a regulatory footrace.
As anticipation within crypto circles increased incrementally, so too have the odds of a regulatory green light. Seyffart of Bloomberg penciled in a 75% chance that a spot Bitcoin ETF will be approved this year, giving the odds a bump in light of Grayscale’s victory.
Still, if the starting gun ever comes, firms like Grayscale have argued it would be unfair for the SEC to let one asset manager move forward while others are left waiting. In July, the company said all spot Bitcoin ETFs should be approved at once because the SEC “should not pick winners and losers.”
Editor's note: This story was updated after publication to include the full list of Bitcoin ETF applications for which the SEC issued delay notices today.