The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has once again proven its inability to make decisions regarding a cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF).
This time, the helpless victim waiting on the sidelines is Bitwise, which initially filed for its ETF two months ago in January. A section of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 states that the SEC can postpone a decision-making process by up to 45 days on specific filings. This 45-day period can then be extended to 90 days granted the SEC finds reasons for the extension and then publishes those reasons publicly.
In an official statement, the SEC has announced:
The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take such action on the proposed rule so that it has sufficient time… Accordingly, the Commission, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act, designates May 16, 2019 as the date by which the Commission either approves or disapproves.
It’s hard to believe the SEC is not anti-crypto. The VanEck SolidX bitcoin ETF, for example, has been at their heels for months, but the organization still can’t solidify its position on the matter. Both companies first submitted their ETF application in March 2017, only to receive a sudden and outright “no.” From then on, it took two more tries on executives’ parts to convince the SEC to examine the proposal, and even then, results have been repeatedly delayed.
Originally, the decision regarding the VanEck SolidX proposal was slated to occur in August 2018. The first postponement pushed the decision to September. This was followed by a second pushback to December. We still don’t have a bitcoin ETF and VanEck’s efforts have simply gotten lost in the crowd.
Organizations like the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) say they aren’t anti-crypto and that they’re not trying to stifle innovation. Commissioner Dan Berkovitz recently commented:
The CFTC is pro-innovation. We do not have an anti-crypto or an anti-blockchain attitude. We are now out to get new technology. We are out to get the bad guys.
At the same time, the CFTC has repeatedly stalled on the application involving Bakkt, the new crypto trading platform hosted by Starbucks, Microsoft and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).
The SEC is no different. Is the agency simply too caught up to realize that it’s keeping billions of dollars out of America’s infrastructure by refusing to make appropriate decisions regarding the string of bitcoin ETFs on its plate?
No doubt, the SEC will probably continue to hold off on Bitwise, VanEck and all other ventures trying to add to our national economy by citing concerns regarding manipulation and other overwrought excuses. Most of the time, the SEC just seems to put all its energy into enforcing strict – and overly complicated – regulations.