On Wednesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said that it wants more input as it considers whether to approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by asset management firm VanEck.
VanEck formally refiled for its proposed bitcoin ETF in December, with Cboe — the exchange that would list the product — submitted a proposed rule change in March that would clear the way for its listing. In late April the SEC issued a notice saying that it would take additional time to reach a decision. June 17 was the decision date previously designated in that notice.
As indicated in Wednesday's notice, the SEC wants to solicit more feedback on the proposed rule change. It states:
"The Commission is instituting proceedings pursuant to Section 19(b)(2)(B) of the Act14 to determine whether the proposed rule change should be approved or disapproved. Institution of proceedings is appropriate at this time in view of the legal and policy issues raised by the proposed rule change, as discussed below. Institution of proceedings does not indicate that the Commission has reached any conclusions with respect to any of the issues involved. Rather, as described below, the Commission seeks and encourages interested persons to provide comments on the proposed rule change."
The notice indicates the potential avenue by which it might disapprove of the application, in order to spur additional commentary:
"Pursuant to Section 19(b)(2)(B) of the Act, the Commission is providing notice of the grounds for disapproval under consideration. The Commission is instituting proceedings to allow for additional analysis of the proposed rule change’s consistency with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act, which requires, among other things, that the rules of a national securities exchange be “designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices” and “to protect investors and the public interest.”
The notice follows on the heels of additional decision delays for other proposed bitcoin ETFs. A slew of other firms, including Fidelity, have also proposed bitcoin ETFs before the SEC.
The SEC said Wednesday that commenters should make their submissions within 21 days from the notice's publication in the Federal Register, which typically takes three business days. Rebuttals should be submitted within 35 days of that publication.