Clarifying the Bitcoin ETF Confusion and the Impending SEC Ruling

On August 10th, 2018, the SEC will announce their decision to either approve, deny or extend the decision-making period on Cboe/VanEck/Solid X’s Bitcoin ETF.

As that historic date rapidly approaches, both excitement and chaos regarding its details have ramped up. Here are a few conflicting or unclear stories circulating regarding proposed ETFs.

Outdated Quote

On July 24th, CoinDesk reported the SEC’s decision to delay a ruling on Direxion’s proposed Bitcoin ETFs from January 2018. In the article, they quoted Michael Cohn, the chief investment strategist at Atlantis Asset Management.

“That would be insane for them to actually approve this. Then they’re putting a rubber stamp on it as an asset, and I don’t think governments want to go there yet.”

While not a ringing endorsement for Bitcoin ETFs, it is essential to realize that this quote, given to CNBC, is from January 8th, 2018, regarding the Direxion proposal. Much has changed since and the Direxion ETF is not the proposal of most interest.

Different Cboe Proposal

Another confusing story circulating is the decision date of the SEC. While documentation states that the SEC will decide on Cboe’s Bitcoin ETF on September 15th, 2018, it is important to note that it is referring to CboeBZX-2018-001, which proposes to list and trade the shares of the GraniteShares Bitcoin ETF and the GraniteShares Short Bitcoin ETF.

This is different from the current Cboe proposal that has captured the attention of the fintech world,  garnered 210 public comments, and injected a rush of optimistic euphoria in crypto’s biggest bulls.

The proposal, that everyone is anxiously awaiting the outcome on, refers to CboeBZX-2018-040, which seeks to list and trade shares of SolidX Bitcoin Shares (the “Fund”) issued by the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust (the “Trust”) on the Cboe Exchange.

CboeBZX-2018-040 was released on June 26th, 2018. On page 53, it indicates to expect a decision to approve, disapprove, or extend the decision-making period within 45 days of the date of publication.

The partnership between Cboe, SolidX, and VanEck is significant to this proposal. SolidX is just one of the few major institutions to have previously filed for a Bitcoin ETF with the SEC while VanEck operates more than 70 ETFs and ETPs.

Together, the three companies offer a real chance of getting the first Bitcoin ETF approved.

To clarify once again, this Bitcoin ETF proposal, with the partnership between Cboe, SolidX and VanEck, is the one that everyone should keep their eyes on. All other decisions are secondary to this potentially monumental one set for August 10th.

However, while August 10th is the earliest possible date to get the Bitcoin ETF approved, lawyer Jake Chervinsky advises ETF hopefuls to expect a final decision much further down the timeline.

Given that he “can’t imagine the SEC will approve the first ever Bitcoin ETF without taking all the time allowed by law,” Mr. Chervinsky expects the SEC to use all three of the allowed 45, 90, and 60-day extensions, setting the date of the final announcement somewhere between February 21st and March 4th, 2019.

Despite all the anticipation and excitement, it appears that the wait for Bitcoin’s first ETF continues.

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