SEC Delays ARK 21Shares Spot Bitcoin ETF Deadline to January

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is making use of the full extent of its allotted time frame to deliberate on the approval of a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposal submitted by ARK 21Shares.

In an announcement dated September 26th, the SEC revealed its intention to extend the decision-making process regarding a proposed rule change, which would permit ARK 21Shares to launch its spot BTC ETF on the Cboe BZX Exchange. The SEC’s prior extension, granted on August 11th, had granted the regulator until November 11th to reach a verdict on whether to approve, disapprove, or further postpone the decision.

In the statement, the SEC justified the extension by stating, “The Commission finds that it is appropriate to designate a longer period within which to issue an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change […] and the issues raised therein.”

Coinciding with this delay, the SEC also deferred a decision on a Bitcoin ETF proposal from fund manager GlobalX. The reasoning behind the SEC’s decision to extend the deliberation periods for these spot Bitcoin ETF applications several weeks ahead of their impending deadlines in October and November remains unclear. Traditionally, the SEC has typically waited until just days before a deadline to announce an extension.

With the addition of this 60-day extension for the ARK 21Shares proposal, the SEC’s ultimate decision date for ARK 21Shares is now set for January 10th, marking 240 days since the initial application was filed. Meanwhile, the next decision date for GlobalX’s ETF proposal is scheduled for November 21st.

The filing from ARK 21Shares followed a letter from a group of four U.S. Representatives urging SEC Chair Gary Gensler to “immediately” grant approval for a spot Bitcoin ETF. The lawmakers argued that the SEC’s approval process displayed “inconsistent and discriminatory standards” in approving ETFs tied to crypto futures while withholding approval for spot investment vehicles.

As of the current date, the next decision deadlines for spot crypto ETF applications from seven major firms—BlackRock, WisdomTree, Invesco Galaxy, Valkyrie, Bitwise, VanEck, and Fidelity—are slated for October. The SEC retains the authority to postpone or extend these deadlines, potentially pushing them into March.

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