SEC Begins Considering Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Application
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has begun the process of reviewing an application for a change in the rule that will allow listing Bitcoin ETF proposed by Bitwise Asset Management and the NYSE Arca exchange.
The proposal itself was published in the Federal Register on February 15, which leaves authorized personnel 45 days to make an initial decision on approval, rejection or further extension of the time frame for consideration of the application. The SEC has a total of no more than 240 days to make a final decision on whether to approve or reject the proposal.
The Bitcoin ETF application was submitted by Bitwise Asset Management as early as January 2019, but was not published in the Federal Register due to the temporary suspension of the US government. According to the original proposal, the ETF will track the Bitwise Bitcoin Total Return Index, which takes into account the price of Bitcoin and any significant network forks.
Moreover, Bitwise wants its fund to be supported by spot prices on exchanges and futures contracts under the conditions of physical calculations. This is different from the principle of operation of all other Bitcoin ETFs that were previously proposed, since the previous ETFs were supported by contracts on a cash settlement basis.
John Hyland, global chief executive of investment fund Bitwise, said:
"While there can be no assurance that the 19b-4 application will be granted or the SEC will review and ultimately accelerate the registration statement, we are optimistic that 2019 should be the year that a bitcoin ETF launches."
The SEC has rejected all similar proposals in the past, but SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce has repeatedly stated with optimism that Bitcoin ETF approval is possible. In early February, VanEck and SolidX also filed a Bitcoin ETF application with the SEC. If approved by the SEC, CBOE BZX will be able to list Bitcoin ETF shares, many supporters of which believe that the fund will help to attract new money to the industry, creating a liquid market.