SEC Delays Approval of VanEck Bitcoin Trust, Seeks Additional Comments

On Wednesday June 16th the SEC delayed approval of the VanEck Bitcoin Trust for the second time this year. The SEC is seeking additional public comments, with the deadlines to respond set well into July and August.

Key questions for which the SEC has asked for public comment largely revolve around the ETF’s susceptibility to market manipulation, and if Bitcoin regulation has substantially changed since 2016.

Despite predictions that a U.S. physical Bitcoin ETF may finally be approved this year, the SEC continues to delay decision-making on the eight applications currently under review. The SEC recently delayed the application review for the WisdomTree Bitcoin Trust by 45 days.

About the VanEck Proposal

The VanEck Bitcoin Trust application was filed with the SEC back in December, and the initial delay was announced by the SEC in April.

Read: The Race To The First Bitcoin ETF

The proposed VanEck Bitcoin Trust would track the MVIS CryptoCompare Bitcoin Benchmark Rate, an index developed by a VanEck affiliate.

The Benchmark Rate would be calculated daily using the one-hour volume-rated average Bitcoin prices from the top five global crypto exchanges. At launch, these would be Bitstamp, Coinbase, Gemini, itBit, and Kraken. The top five exchanges would be decided upon twice a year.

The one-hour volume-exchange average would be calculated every hour using the median price of Bitcoin on each exchange over twenty three-minute intervals.

This approach reduces the risk of market stress events or single exchange failure. It also inhibits price collusion by forcing any hypothetical price-colluders to somehow successfully manipulate five exchanges, rather than one, over an extended period of time.

This isn’t VanEck’s first filing for a crypto ETF. The issuer has submitted several Bitcoin ETF filings over the years, including this one, which was submitted in December 2020.

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