The SEC has delayed a decision on another bitcoin ETF, putting off approval of a fund from WisdomTree

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The SEC has delayed a decision on another bitcoin ETF, putting off approval of a fund from WisdomTree
Gary Gensler's SEC has increased its focus on cryptocurrencies Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • The SEC on Tuesday delayed WisdomTree's application for a bitcoin ETF, adding to a pile-up of applications sitting on the agency's docket.
  • "There's nothing [in the SEC's order] that we're not saying ourselves as an ETF issuer," Ryan Louvar, general counsel at WisdomTree, told Insider.
  • But the agency now may be warming up to the view, expressed by many bitcoin fund applicants, that not approving a regulated ETF could present its own risks.

The SEC on Tuesday delayed WisdomTree's application for a bitcoin ETF, adding to a pile-up of applications sitting on the agency's docket.

In an order putting off approval, the SEC called for public comment on a number of concerns, including whether the bitcoin market is subject to manipulation. The agency similarly asked for public comment in June.

"There's nothing [in the SEC's order] that we're not saying ourselves as an ETF issuer," Ryan Louvar, general counsel at WisdomTree, told Insider previously. "Bitcoin is volatile. It's a speculative asset."

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But the SEC now may be warming up to the view, expressed by many bitcoin fund applicants, that not approving a regulated ETF could present its own risks. In Tuesday's filings - as in previous ones - the agency asked for comment on whether "manipulation concerns … are outweighed by quantifiable investor protection issues."

"I was encouraged by that step, that the SEC is at least taking incremental steps here," said Louvar.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler has worried aloud that the bitcoin market, as currently structured, offers no real investor protections or any way to prevent manipulation. That has made some in the crypto industry bearish on the prospects for ETF approval this year.

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Read more: Crypto traders have staked billions of dollars on Kraken over the last year to earn interest. The exchange's product chief explains what staking is, and shares 3 of the top-yielding tokens on its platform.

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