The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced that it will extend its decision-making period for two pending spot Bitcoin Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), according to separate filings made on Nov. 17.

The first filing concerns a proposed rule change that would allow Cboe BZX Exchange to list GlobalX’s spot Bitcoin ETF. The proposal was filed on Aug. 4 and was published for comment in the federal register on Aug. 23. The SEC said it would approve, reject, or institute proceedings on whether to approve or disapprove the rule change by Nov. 21.

The current order follows through on the last option, as it institutes proceedings that will allow the SEC to approve or reject the application by February 2024.

A second order concerns a similar rule change for a spot Bitcoin ETF from Franklin Templeton. That application was submitted on Sept. 26 and published for comment on Oct. 3. The SEC identified Nov. 17 as its first decision deadline; now, it has instituted a longer decision period to approve or disapprove the application by Jan. 1, 2024.

GlobalX and Franklin Templeton are two of several applicants who filed for spot Bitcoin ETFs following BlackRock’s application for a fund of the same type in mid-June.

SEC filings seek comments and input

Although many reports have referred to these as delays, the SEC has not officially described them as such in their orders. Instead, the filings seek input on market manipulation, surveillance-sharing agreements, and other matters that have been long-standing concerns around spot Bitcoin ETFs.

The SEC asked for similar information about other proposed spot Bitcoin ETFs starting in September. Various other applicants have updated those filings following the requests for comment.  One industry member, ARK Invest CEO and CIO Cathie Wood, suggested that questions are a positive step forward as opposed to outright rejection. In a recent interview with CNBC, she stated: “That is movement … that is significant.”

Though the SEC may ultimately reject various pending proposals, some experts have a positive outlook. Bloomberg ETF analysts Erich Balchunas and James Seyffart have estimated a 90% chance of an ETF approval by January 2024.

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