Clock Starts Ticking for SEC to Review NYSE Arca’s Bitcoin ETF Rule Change Proposal

Francisco Memoria

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently revealed it has started to review a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) rule change proposal filed by NYSE Arca and Bitwise Asset Management earlier this month. The regulator now has 45 days to make an initial decision.

In it, the SEC may decide to approve, reject, or extend the proposal. The regulator can extend the period to make its final decision up to 240 days, and members of the general public looking to file responses to the proposal have three weeks to comment.

NYSE Arca, which focuses on trading stocks and options rather than large-cap stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange, has filed a bitcoin ETF application with the SEC along with Bitwise earlier this year. If approved, the financial product, set to rely on “third party custodians to hold its physical bitcoin,” will be traded on its platform.

The rule change proposal was filed the same day the bitcoin ETF application was, but due to the US government’s shutdown the SEC didn’t publish it in the Federal Register, which meant it wasn’t yet being examined. It was published this Friday, February 15.

The Fight for a Bitcoin ETF

Various cryptocurrency investors believe a bitcoin ETF will be beneficial for the market, as they believe it’ll bring in institutional investors and increase its liquidity. The SEC has yet to approve such an ETF, and has in fact rejected several applications, including one from the Winklevoss twins.

Recently, however, SEC commissioner Robert Jackson stated a bitcoin ETF is “virtually certain,” giving the community hope a proposal will sooner or later meet the SEC’s guidelines. Recently, the VanEck-SolidX ETF proposal was withdrawn over concerns related to the government’s shutdown.

Soon after, however, the proposal was resubmitted. This has seen the clock restart, meaning the SEC will have up to 240 days to make a decision after the ETF proposal is published on the Federal Register. It hasn’t been published yet.