(Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday it had not decided on whether to allow the listing of a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund by Bitwise Asset Management, and asked for public comments on aspects of the fund’s application.
The regulator said it would institute proceedings to decide whether to approve or reject the listing of Bitwise Bitcoin ETP Trust on Intercontinental Exchange Inc’s NYSE Arca exchange.
The delay comes after the SEC has denied spot bitcoin ETFs by several issuers in recent months, including Fidelity, SkyBridge, and Valkyrie, all of which sought to provide easy exposure to the digital currency.
The SEC in October approved two bitcoin futures-based funds, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF and the Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF, which made their Wall Street debuts the same month.
In delaying the Bitwise ETF, the SEC asked any interested parties to send it comments on certain parts of the ETF application, including on the expected volume of the ETF, as well as whether it could become a predominant influence on prices in bitcoin futures trading on CME Group’s exchange.
The price of bitcoin has lost nearly half its value in recent months, having hit a six-month low of $32,950 on Jan. 24, from a peak of $69,000 hit in November. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency was last trading at around $38,650.
(Reporting by Medha Singh and Kanika Sikka in Bengaluru and John McCrank in New York; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Aurora Ellis)