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SEC defers decision on VanEck’s spot BTC ETF application anew

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has punted on yet another BTC spot-settled exchange-traded fund (ETF). The securities regulator has postponed deciding whether to approve VanEck’s spot BTC ETF application by 45 days.

In the notice it sent out to VanEck and the Cboe BZX exchange, where ETF shares are to be listed if approved, the SEC stated that the extension would give it more time to consider the application and address concerns it has about its approval.

“The Commission finds that it is appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the issues raised therein,” the document said.

The SEC added that since publishing the proposed rules change in the Federal Register on July 13, it had received no feedback on it. The notice will lapse on August 27, its 45th day since it was published. And with the new deadline, the Commission will have until October 11 to decide whether to go ahead or thumbs down the rules change.

VanEck filed the application with the SEC to list Commodity-Based Trust Shares of its VanEck Bitcoin Trust on the Cbeo BZX exchange on June 24. This marks the third time the global asset manager with over $65 billion in assets under management is applying to list a spot-settled ‘Bitcoin’ ETF on a regulated exchange.

Its two previous trials, one in 2017 and another back in November 2021, were rejected by the SEC. However, VanEck’s application for a futures-based BTC ETF was approved last year.

The SEC and spot Bitcoin ETFs

So far, the SEC has been denying all spot/physically backed digital asset ETFs. This year alone, it has shot down filings from NYDIG, Global X, and Grayscale, among others.

The Commission has cited discomfort with the susceptibility of the digital asset market to succumb to manipulation if a spot ETF is approved under the Securities Exchange Act of 1933.

In response, the digital asset community has increased pressure on the SEC, pointing out holes in its argument. Grayscale has even dragged the regulator to court. According to a Bloomberg report, the asset manager claims the SEC is “acting arbitrarily and capriciously in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and Securities Exchange Act of 1934.”

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