SEC postpones decision on Bitcoin ETF. Congress calls for ‘immediate’ action


The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed its decision on several spot Bitcoin ETF applications from ARK Invest and 21Shares until January 10, 2024.

“The SEC considers it appropriate to set a longer period for issuing orders to approve or reject applications so that it has sufficient time to review the documents,” the regulator emphasized.

The department also postponed the decision on the exchange-traded fund from the Global X Bitcoin Trust until November 21, 2023.

On July 14, the SEC accepted applications from BlackRock, VanEck, Fidelity Investments, Invesco and WisdomTree for consideration. They were later joined by Franklin Templeton.

So far, the regulator has not given any approval for the launch of spot ETFs for digital gold. The Commission made an exception for similar products based on futures for the first cryptocurrency from ProShares and Valkyrie Investments.

On August 31, the department delayed making a decision on the applications until at least mid-October. The SEC’s decision caused the Bitcoin price to collapse below $26,000.

Legislators’ dissatisfaction

Shortly before the SEC’s decision was postponed, a group of four members of the US Congress wrote to Commission Chairman Gary Gensler demanding “immediate” approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF.

Congressmen Mike Flood, Wiley Nickel, Tom Emmer and Ritchie Torres believe that the regulator “discriminates against spot crypto products,” citing legal precedent with Grayscale Investments.

In their opinion, there is “no reason to continue to reject” applications for exchange-traded funds after the court’s decision, which called the SEC’s reasons “arbitrary and capricious” in connection with already approved investment vehicles tied to futures for the first cryptocurrency.

“Regulated spot bitcoinETP will provide increased investor protection by providing safer and more transparent access to investment instruments,” the letter says.

SEC Chairman’s Opinion

Gensler is scheduled to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Sept. 27. According to prepared testimony, he remains committed to promoting a tough stance on digital assets.

“Given the industry’s widespread lack of compliance with securities laws, it is not surprising that we are seeing many problems in these markets. We’ve seen a similar story before. It’s reminiscent of the 1920s, before federal trade laws were passed,” the official explained.

He also reiterated his point that most digital assets and their affiliated companies are subject to securities laws.

Gensler cited agency regulations, including an April release that said crypto platforms were already part of the definition of an exchange, including DeFi protocols.

Let us recall that in September 2023, the head of the SEC once again confirmed his position regarding digital assets, noting their possible harm to the global financial system.

In August, US House of Representatives member Warren Davidson called for Gensler to be removed from his position as head of the agency due to the unsuccessful proceedings against Grayscale. It was preceded by the partial defeat of the regulator in the process against Ripple.

Later, the media accused the SEC chairman of turning the agency into a “banana republic.”

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