VanEck CEO Comments On Trump’s Government Shutdown Regarding SolidX Bitcoin ETF Approval Status


The long saga surrounding the VanEck-SolidX Bitcoin ETF took another turn on Wednesday after a proposal to list the ETF on the Cboe BZX Exchange was withdrawn on Wednesday.

U.S. SEC Deputy Secretary Eduardo Aleman announced the withdrawal. The proposal has been delayed for a variety of reasons, including calls for public comments, and for meetings with advocates.

The SEC has been open to meeting representatives from CBOE, VanEck, and SolidX. In early October 2018, SEC Commissioner Elad Roisman and counsels met with representatives from each entity.

Rumours are Commissioner Roisman has a crypto-friendly and free market mindset similar to Hester Pierce, another of the five members on the SEC Commission.

VanEck CEO Jan van Eck recently indicated the ongoing U.S. government shutdown was the reason the proposal was temporarily withdrawn. He told CNBC the shutdown has hampered the process between the SEC and those who are interested in the ETF’s approval.

The partial shutdown of the U.S. government, now the longest in the nation’s history, came due to big disagreements over the funding of a proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Aside from the proposed ETF, the shutdown has also impacted other projects, like the Bakkt Bitcoin futures platform and the ErisX crypto trading platform. Both are waiting for approval from the CFTC, who has been hit by funding gaps due to the shutdown.

Van Eck said advocates “were engaged in discussions with the SEC about the bitcoin-related issues, custody, market manipulation, prices,” but that discussions about the proposal “had to stop.”

He said a re-filing will occur with a new round of discussions once the SEC “gets going again,” instead of just trying to “slip though or something” right now.

The decision deadline was set for February 27th, but the ETF would have been denied if the government shutdown extended past this date, since the SEC would still be short-staffed enough to where it could not review the proposal.

The CEO said they were prepared to answer some of the tougher questions about the proposal but admitted there needed to be a clear and convincing demonstration of the answers to the regulators.

The decision to hold off until another day was seen as a smart move by Kobre & Kim lawyer Jake Chervinsky. He indicated in an email how the SEC does not have enough staffers to approve or even review any proposals right now due to the shutdown.

In his eyes, a withdrawal is a sign of living ‘to fight another day’ since it helps avoid a precedent that would make getting an ETF approved a harder endeavor in the future.

Attorney Ethan Silver seemed to agree with this sentiment. He told CoinDesk the SEC would just “would sooner deny it than be put in a position [where it is approved on a technicality]” if it had to deal with the proposal.

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