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Jul 25, 2021  |  News

A bitcoin ETF may not be approved by the SEC until 2023 despite surging interest, according to a fund provider that’s already been through the process

(Business Insider) Anticipation for a SEC-approved bitcoin ETF is high, but investors shouldn’t hold their breath as it may still be years away from becoming reality in the US.

That’s according to Wilshire Phoenix co-founder William Cai, who has first-hand experience in dealing with the SEC and its bitcoin ETF approval process.

Cai told Insider that he doesn’t expect the SEC to approve a bitcoin ETF until 2022 or 2023, even as more and more fund providers rush to submit their own applications with the regulator.

There are now more than 10 bitcoin ETF applications sitting with the SEC, with Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest the latest fund provider to submit its own application.

“We think they’re all going to get stuck,” Cai said.

The SEC’s rejection of the Wilshire Phoenix bitcoin ETF application in February 2020 gave the fund provider insight into what’s holding up the agency in approving a highly-sought after crypto ETF in the US.

“The major thing is manipulation, and they’re focused on the cash market, [which] is not regulated and does not trade on regulated exchanges,” Cai explained. A cash market is a marketplace in which the commodities or securities purchased are paid for and received at the point of sale.

The SEC is also concerned that cryptocurrencies are a relatively new asset class, and are still in the process of maturing, according to Cai. Bitcoin was created in 2009.

Even though Wilshire Phoenix worked on its bitcoin ETF application when Jay Clayton was Chairman of the SEC, Cai is seeing the same comments pop up in bitcoin ETF extension letters under current SEC Chairman Gary Gensler.

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