SEC Delays Decision on ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF Filing

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(Bloomberg) — The US Securities and Exchange Commission has not yet come to a decision on whether to approve the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF application, delivering another delay for the long-awaited product. 

The issuer had originally filed in April and regulators had until Aug. 13 to say whether they would approve, reject or delay on coming to a decision. 

An ETF that invests directly in Bitcoin has never been green-lit in the US. The latest batch of applications, however, which includes one from BlackRock Inc., has some analysts hoping that a spot product could start trading soon. 

Many in the crypto community — and fans outside of it — have been longing for a spot-Bitcoin ETF for years. They argue that it would not only make investing in Bitcoin more accessible to everyday investors, but that it would also help bring the digital-assets space closer into traditional financial markets. On the other hand, regulators have consistently cited fraud and manipulation as some of the reasons not to approve such a product. 

Nearly simultaneously with the delay decision, 21Shares, in partnership with Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment Management, filed for a Bitcoin futures fund, paperwork submitted with the SEC on Friday showed. Such a product also doesn’t yet exist in the US, though a slew of companies, emboldened by the potential for a spot product, are trying for one. The paperwork showed the 21Shares proposal for the ARK 21Shares Active Bitcoin Futures ETF could potentially trade under the ticker ARKA. 

Still, even if a green-light for a Bitcoin spot fund does come later on, many analysts hadn’t expected a decision just yet. Cathie Wood, the founder of ARK, herself said that the SEC may bless multiple spot-Bitcoin ETFs at the same time, reversing an earlier view that her firm would be first in line to get approval.  

A slew of issuers have filed for spot-Bitcoin ETFs in recent weeks. BlackRock Inc. kicked the race into high gear when it submitted its paperwork. That’s because many see its near-pristine track record with ETFs as being a good harbinger for the asset manager believing it could get a Bitcoin fund launched. 

Though cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin rose in the weeks following BlackRock’s June entry into the race, they’ve been more subdued since. The largest token is currently trading around $29,400, a level it’s been hovering at for weeks, though it briefly climbed above $31,000 at one point. Bitcoin traded at a record high of almost $69,000 in late 2021.

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