December 4, 2023


The anticipation for a spot Bitcoin ETF approval by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been a topic of immense speculation within the cryptocurrency community. Recent developments, including a delay in the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF application, have stirred discussions about the potential timeline for approval and concerns over market manipulation and regulation.

SEC’s Delaying Move:

Amidst high hopes for a spot Bitcoin ETF, the SEC has taken a significant step by delaying the approval process for the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF. This move has raised questions about the regulator’s intentions and whether it signals a broader trend of cautious decision-making.

Collaboration and Refiling Efforts:

Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest and 21Shares joined forces to refile a spot Bitcoin ETF application earlier this year, following previous rejections by the SEC. The regulatory body was initially expected to make a decision on the application by August 13. However, the SEC’s recent order requesting public input has pushed the deadline further, potentially extending the waiting period for approval.

Extended Public Input Period:

With the latest development, the general public now has three weeks to offer additional comments on the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF proposal. Subsequently, the SEC will have five weeks to address the received comments. Moreover, the SEC retains the authority to further extend the deadline by a maximum of 240 days, potentially delaying a final response until January 10, 2024.

Market Manipulation Concerns:

A notable aspect of the SEC’s latest release is its repeated use of the term “manipulation.” This choice of wording has raised concerns within the crypto community, particularly due to the SEC’s prior rejections of spot Bitcoin ETF applications citing the risk of market manipulation. The continued emphasis on this term suggests that the SEC might demand proof that Bitcoin is not a manipulated asset class, posing a significant hurdle for approval.

Challenges Surrounding Regulation and Market Size:

The SEC’s concerns also extend to the absence of a “regulated market or significant size” for Bitcoin. Notably, the agency approved Bitcoin Future ETFs due to regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). However, the lack of a regulatory framework for Bitcoin itself raises questions about how the SEC views the cryptocurrency’s eligibility for a spot-traded ETF.


The delay in the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF approval by the SEC has triggered discussions about the potential timeline for the introduction of a spot Bitcoin ETF and the regulatory challenges that lie ahead. Market participants are closely watching for updates and possible outcomes, as the crypto community grapples with the uncertainties surrounding market manipulation concerns and the need for regulatory oversight.

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