The news broke on August 7 that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is kicking the can on its decision to approve or disapprove a proposed rule change that would let the Cboe BZX Exchange list a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). Now, the next deadline for something is September 30, though ultimately, the U.S. securities market regulator could push it forward again into 2019.
It was an expected result at an unexpected time.
As CoinDesk reported previously, if approved, it would allow for the first-ever listing of a bitcoin ETF in the U.S., done in partnership between investment firm VanEck and blockchain startup SolidX. The two companies submitted their proposal back in June.
More broadly, the listing would be seen in some quarters as a sign of maturation for the cryptocurrency market and likely open the door for investors to gain exposure – albeit indirectly – to the nascent asset class.
Twitter yawns as market yells
The delayed decision was, as posts on social media suggest, largely expected by members of the crypto community.
But while the collective social media response wasn’t far from a yawn, the market itself reacted poorly.
According to CoinDesk’s market analysis report, the total value of all cryptocurrencies went down to $227.8 billion on Wednesday, the lowest level since November 2017. Bitcoin’s price alone dropped below $6,300 after trading above $7,000 prior to the announcement.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Twitter’s crypto ecosystem called for calm. For example, OKCoin CEO Star Xu argued that those people selling in the aftermath were overreacting.
The market move led to speculation that the market hadn’t priced in – that is to say, accounted for the possibility of – an SEC punt.
Others wondered aloud whether more nefarious actors were at work amidst the sell-off, alleging manipulation in the wake of the announcement.
No worries here?
Some observers took a decidedly glass-half-full view of the news, looking at the decision delay as a net positive.
Indeed, some argued that the SEC’s deliberative process around the bitcoin ETF signals that they are taking the issue seriously..
Ultimately, as has been the case for several years now, the cryptocurrency community will have to wait to find out whether the U.S. will see the listing of a bitcoin ETF.