The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed its decision on several proposals for spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including BlackRock, ahead of a possible government shutdown. The SEC also delayed the spot Bitcoin ETF applications of Invesco, Bitwise, and Valkyrie. Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart predicts that the applications from Fidelity, VanEck, and WisdomTree will also be pushed back. The delays are expected due to a potential government shutdown scheduled for October 1 if Congress fails to agree on funding bills. To avoid a shutdown, Congress needs to pass 12 separate full-year funding bills by October 1.
The recent delays came earlier than the expected second deadline date for many applicants who were anticipating a response from the SEC by mid-October. The SEC previously delayed a group of spot Bitcoin ETF applicants in early September, close to the first deadline. The third set of deadlines for these seven firms is around mid-January. However, these deadlines might also be delayed. The SEC must make a final decision by mid-March at the latest.
In late August, Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas estimated that the probability of a spot Bitcoin ETF being approved by the end of 2023 had increased to 75% from an earlier 65%. This increase in probability was attributed to the U.S. Court of Appeals Circuit’s unanimous decision in favor of Grayscale over the SEC. Balchunas further raised the odds to 95% by the end of 2024. Despite these delays, there is still optimism in the industry regarding the eventual approval of a Bitcoin ETF.