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SEC Delays Decision on Bitcoin ETF Options, Extends Review Period

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has once again deferred its decision on a significant development in the cryptocurrency market. On March 6, the SEC announced an extension of its deadline to make a ruling on the proposals by Cboe Exchange and the Miami International Securities Exchange, which seek approval to offer options trading on spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This move could potentially welcome a new wave of institutional investment into the Bitcoin arena.

Additionally, the SEC has postponed its decision regarding Nasdaq’s application to list options on BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT). The regulatory body stated that this delay is intended to provide it with “sufficient time to consider” these requests. Originally, all exchanges had filed their applications to list Bitcoin ETF options on January 25, with the SEC facing its initial decision deadline on March 10. Under U.S. securities laws, the SEC has a 45-day window to either make a decision or delay it, with this recent postponement pushing the final decision date to April 24.

Options trading offers traders leverage and the opportunity to make directional bets on the market. For instance, if a trader anticipates an increase in Bitcoin’s price, they could purchase a call option at today’s price, securing the right to buy 1 BTC in the future at a lower cost, hence standing to gain if the price rises as predicted.

The push for approval of options trading on Bitcoin ETFs has garnered support from key industry figures. Michael Sonnenshein, CEO of Grayscale, has publicly advocated for the approval, emphasizing the positive impact it would have on market health and robustness. Analysts, including VettaFi’s Dave Nadig, have expressed optimism about the potential market dynamics, anticipating increased interest from hedge funds and other institutional players once Bitcoin ETF options become available.

This postponement comes in the wake of the SEC’s approval of ten spot Bitcoin ETFs on January 11, marking a significant milestone after prolonged deliberations. These ETFs, excluding the one converted by Grayscale, have collectively attracted $25.87 billion in assets under management by March 6, as per BitMEX Research.

As the SEC deliberates on these new financial products, it also faces decisions on seven spot Ether ETFs, with analysts predicting a possible collective approval by May 23. Furthermore, the SEC is reviewing multiple leveraged Bitcoin ETF applications, indicating a broadening scope of cryptocurrency-related financial instruments under consideration. This ongoing regulatory evolution underscores the growing intersection of traditional finance and digital assets, marking a pivotal moment for institutional engagement in the cryptocurrency market.

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