U.S. Could See First Bitcoin ETF in Less Than 45 Days
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U.S. Could See First Bitcoin ETF in Less Than 45 Days

North America’s first Bitcoin ETF launched in Canada more than a month ago. Will the United States follow suit?
Neither the author, Tim Fries, nor this website, The Tokenist, provide financial advice. Please consult our website policy prior to making financial decisions.

A little more than a month ago, the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada witnessed the advent of its first-ever Bitcoin ETF. Purpose Investment’s Bitcoin ETF, trading under the ticker “BTCC,” sold more than $100 million worth of shares on its first day of trading and, by the end of the next day, it had garnered nearly $422 million in assets under management. 

Riding on the back of Purpose’s success, the Canadian stock exchange saw the incoming of two more Bitcoin ETFs. The trend in Canada did not take more than a month to reach the doorsteps of its North American neighbor, the United States. 

VanEck’s Bitcoin ETF Acknowledged by SEC

VanEck, an investment management firm founded in 1955 and headquartered in New York, NY, filed for a Bitcoin ETF earlier this year. Following VanEck’s filing, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) applied for approval to host VanEck’s ETF. The CBOE published its completed 19-b form on March 1, 2021. 

The ball is currently in the SEC’s court. Now that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has acknowledged VanEck’s application, it has 45 days to respond. 

The standard protocol dictates that the SEC would have to publish its initial decision within 45 days. In this filing, the 15th of March is considered day 1. This was the date when the SEC made VanEck’s submission public on its website. 

After 45 days, the SEC can choose to follow any of the following three routes:

  • It can approve the application.
  • It can deny or reject VanEck’s submission.
  • It can choose to extend the deliberation window up to 249 days before it delivers a final decision. 

The public also gets a three-week period to submit comments on the SEC’s website. If the SEC approves VanEck’s application, it would create history by introducing the United States’ first-ever Bitcoin ETF. However, given the track record of the SEC not approving such applications before, industry-experts are unsure about what the result in VanEck’s case will be. 

History of the SEC and Bitcoin ETF Applications

Way back in 2018, the SEC refused a second attempt by the Winklevoss brothers, Cameron and Tyler, to list the first-ever cryptocurrency-ETF on a regulated exchange. It would be pertinent to mention here that the Winklevoss brothers were also the founders of the crypto-exchange Gemini. 

In early October 2019, the SEC rejected the proposal to create a Bitcoin-based ETF. It came from Bitwise Asset Management and NYSE Arca. According to a statement issued by the SEC, the proponents of the ETF had failed to meet standards to prevent fraud and market manipulation. Continuing with this tradition, the US SEC rejected Wilshire Phoenix’s bid for a bitcoin-based ETF in February 2020. 

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Despite such a strong history of rejections, there is ample scope to anticipate the SEC making an exception this time. Two prime reasons drive this hope for approval. The first one stems from the precedents set by the Toronto Stock Exchange. The fabulous response that the ETFs had in Canada is reflective of the demand for Bitcoin-based ETFs among mainstream investors. The second reason has its roots in the astounding bull run Bitcoin has been experiencing over the past few months.

We will still have to wait for a little more than a month to see whether the convergence of these two factors manages to pull VanEck’s application through this time—or the SEC repeats itself with yet another rejection.

Do you believe that the SEC will approve VanEck’s Bitcoin ETF filing? Let us know below in the comments.