The general hype and excitement about an imminent Bitcoin ETF has died down considerably in the past year or so. Many applications have come before the SEC, but all of them to this point have been turned away with similar reasons.
However, this week sees a deadline approaching for the SEC to make a call on a Bitcoin ETF when Wilshire Phoenix’s United States Bitcoin and Treasury Investment Trust meets a filing deadline Wednesday.
The chances are yet again slim of this being the application that forces the rule change, but the stakes have never been higher. Bitcoin futures trading, and its subsequent explosion in interest, has proven that there is a high level of demand for such institutional investment products.
Such a financial instrument would allow retail investors to get exposure to the Bitcoin market without the added difficulty of owning Bitcoin itself, potentially boosting market participation by individuals wary of Bitcoin’s image as an unregulated asset.
Optimism from inside
ETF applications have come close, and alternatives have been put forward, but ever since the Winklevoss twins put in their first application in late 2016, there has not been much give from the SEC who always outline the same issues.
Still, the belief is that with the Bitcoin market maturing, the SEC’s concerns are being alleviated, and it is just a matter of time. For Wilshire managing partner William Herrmann, they are optimistic about this filing.
“We wouldn’t have filed it if we didn’t think that it would be approved,” he told Coindesk.
To boost its chances, the amended S-1 filed on Feb. 14 now includes an entire additional section on underwriters, though no specific entities are named. The filing also now includes Wilshire Phoenix’s fees ($2,437), its maximum share price ($2,500) and a number of shares it intends to register initially (8,040).
While the bets are not strong that this will be the one to make it through the SEC, the commission has been taking due note of the filing. According to public documents, Commissioners Hester Peirce and Allison Herren Lee both met with representatives from Wilshire Phoenix, NYSE Arca and their law firms.
The Division of Trading and Markets met with representatives from the companies in January, as well as twice last year, to discuss the proposal. Still, the SEC’s thinking on the proposal remains opaque.