After more than two years of trying to introduce a cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF), it appears that VanEck and SolidX are giving up, at least partially. The CBOE BZX exchange, which had been working on trying to convince the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow the ETF, submitted a notice to the agency saying that it is withdrawing its petition. There is still an opportunity for institutional investors to get in on the action, though, as VanEck and SolidX launched a platform a few weeks ago that allows them to purchase privately placed crypto securities.
The SEC announced the withdrawal September 17, saying that COBE had withdrawn its request on September 13. The commission first denied last year an application submitted in 2017, leading to a second attempt that sought to address the SEC’s concerns. That request, after not receiving any positive response, was pulled in order to rewrite the application once again, and resubmitted in January of this year. In an apparent symbol of acknowledgement that the chances of an ETF coming anytime soon, CBOE decided to wash its hands and walk away.
After dedicating so much time and resources to the endeavor, the CBOE could have waited a little longer. The SEC, per protocol, would have had to render a final decision on the proposal on October 18, only a month away.
There is still another crypto ETF that could be approved, although no one actually expects it to happen. Bitwise Asset Management has its own application pending with the SEC and, like the CBOE application, it too has repeatedly found delays. The SEC has until October 13 to issue its final verdict on the request.
Bitwise COO Teddy Fusaro says of the attempt to launch an ETF, “Historically, getting approval for new and novel ETFs has been a multi-year process, so we’re not surprised by the withdrawal. At Bitwise we continue to work on our filing and through our research to answer all of the substantial questions that the SEC has raised over the years, and we intend to continue to highlight how the industry has made progress in being able to satisfy those hard questions.”
VanEck and SolidX launched their quasi-ETF for crypto at the beginning of this month. It only offers limited types of investments and makes use of an SEC rule, Rule 144A, that allows privately placed securities to be offered to “qualified institutional buyers.” Among those are qualified hedge funds, banks and brokers, but no retail or individual investors.
That platform is similar to one offered by Grayscale Investments. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust is a fund that exclusively invests in BTC, and which already has, as of data from the beginning of September, around $2.3 billion in assets under management.
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