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SEC Delays Decision on Bitcoin ETF Applications from BlackRock, Invesco and Bitwise

Source: AdobeStock / Andriy Blokhin

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has once again postponed its decision on several proposals for spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including applications from financial giants BlackRock and Invesco, as well as the cryptocurrency-focused Bitwise

As per several  filings on September 28, these delays have come earlier than expected, surprising many applicants who had been anticipating responses from the securities regulator between October 16 and 19.

The timing of these delays is closely tied to the looming threat of a U.S. government shutdown, which could potentially occur on October 1 if Congress fails to agree on various funding bills for government operations. 

Currently, Congress must pass 12 separate full-year funding bills by the end of September to avert this shutdown. The potential shutdown would disrupt the functioning of various federal agencies, including financial regulators like the SEC.

US SEC Continues to Delay Decisions on Bitcoin ETFs

This isn't the first time the SEC has pushed back decisions on Bitcoin ETFs. A previous round of delays occurred in late August, just as the first deadline approached.

Looking ahead, the third set of deadlines for these seven firms is scheduled for around mid-January, but there's a possibility that these deadlines could also be extended. 

The SEC must reach a final decision by mid-March at the latest. 

Optimism Around Bitcoin Spot ETF Approval Grows

The prospects of a Bitcoin ETF approval have gained traction in recent months. In August, Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas estimated a 75% probability of a spot Bitcoin ETF approval by the end of 2023, up from an earlier 65%. 

This optimism was fueled by the U.S. Court of Appeals Circuit's decisive ruling in favor of Grayscale over the SEC, suggesting a more favorable environment for such approvals. Balchunas has even raised the odds to 95% by the end of 2024.

So far the US SEC has not approved any Bitcoin spot ETF, citing lack of clarity and investor protection.