Filings with the SEC on Wednesday show that Fidelity‘s Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust and the First Trust SkyBridge Bitcoin ETF are officially beginning their SEC review.
This begins a 45-day review cycle of the applications, though the SEC has the ability to issue extensions up to 240 days. Historically the Commission has taken all 240 days to review, and has yet to approve any cryptocurrency ETF.
On May 6th, the New York Stock Exchange filed a 19b-4 to list and trade the First Trust SkyBridge Bitcoin ETF, with recognition by the SEC on May 21st per the SEC filing. The sponsor for the First Trust SkyBridge Bitcoin ETF is First Trust Advisors L.P. and the custodian of the ETF would be NYDIG Trust Company LLC.
Meanwhile, on May 10th, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) BZX Exchange filed a 19b-4 to list and trade the Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust, per the SEC filing. The SEC recognized the filing on May 25th. FD Funds Management LLC, a subsidiary of Fidelity, is the sponsor of the Trust.
There are currently 5 other cryptocurrency ETFs under review by the SEC: Kryptoin, WisdomTree, Valkyrie, and VanEck all have Bitcoin ETFs under review, while VanEck also has an Ethereum ETF under review.
Yet the recent crypto crash coupled with comments from SEC heads and a public statement from the SEC Division of Investment Management have analysts and investors doubtful of securing an approval anytime soon.
In an interview with CNBC in mid-May, SEC chairman Gary Gensler said “I think that we need greater investor protection” in the cryptocurrency space, going on to discuss the volatility of Bitcoin specifically and how it is a “speculative” store of value. He also made clear that he believes the SEC should remain “technology neutral” when it comes to market innovations.
The following day, the SEC’s Division of Investment Management released a statement warning investors that are investing in Bitcoin futures of the “highly speculative investment.” It went on to say that “investors should consider the volatility of Bitcoin and the Bitcoin futures market, as well as the lack of regulation and potential for fraud or manipulation in the underlying Bitcoin market.”
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