SEC Postpones Decision on Bitcoin ETF Options to April 4

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has pushed back its decision on authorizing options for spot Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). This follows the approval of Bitcoin-backed funds by nine issuers, notably leaving out Grayscale’s GBTC. The focus is now on two pending requests, including one from BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin ETF (IBIT), as presented by Nasdaq.

Nasdaq submitted the application for IBIT in January, riding on the momentum of previous approvals for entities like BlackRock, Fidelity, and ARK 21Shares. The request seeks to enable options trading on this novel ETF. Already, the SEC has opened the floor for public comments on this proposal, with five individuals advocating for the green light on options trading.

Regulatory Decision Timeline Extended

The SEC has marked April 24 as the critical date by which it will decide to either endorse, reject, or initiate proceedings regarding Nasdaq’s proposal. Similarly, the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s (Cboe) plea to offer options on spot Bitcoin ETFs faces a delay until the same date in April.

The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change.

SEC Filing

Cboe, under existing regulations, can list options on any exchange-traded product shortly after its market debut. However, digital asset-backed funds, such as those based on Bitcoin, currently do not fall within these guidelines, as clarified by Cboe on January 5.

Grayscale’s CEO, Michael Sonnenshein, has made a public plea to the SEC, emphasizing the importance of approving options trading for spot Bitcoin ETFs. He argues that withholding this financial instrument from shareholders and ETF investors would be unfair. As the April deadline approaches, the industry eagerly awaits the SEC’s decisions, which could significantly impact the landscape of cryptocurrency investments.

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