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Bitwise’s ETF experts keep you informed on the latest events in the space—including new filings, approvals, rejections, and updates to timelines—as they’re happening.

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— Overview

How does the filing process work for Bitcoin ETFs and ETPs?

The quest for a spot Bitcoin ETF in the U.S. is heating up. To understand the outlook, it’s key to understand the process that filings go through before they can be approved.

Two Types of ETFs

Exchange-traded funds in the U.S. follow different paths to approval depending on the type of ETF they are. Most ETFs are registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940. These “1940 Act” ETFs have a fairly simple pathway to approval: Issuers file paperwork and the filing automatically goes effective after 75 days, unless the SEC issues a stop order.

Spot bitcoin ETFs, however—like all spot commodity ETFs—are filed under the Securities Act of 1933. The key feature of the “1933 Act” structure is that a filing does not automatically go effective after 75 days. Instead, the SEC must affirmatively approve a 1933 Act filing before it can launch.

How Does the 1933 Act Review Process Work?

The 1933 Act review process follows a specific timeline, which begins when the exchange where the ETF will trade (such as the New York Stock Exchange) files what’s called a “19b-4 filing” with the SEC. The 19b-4 effectively asks the SEC for permission to list and trade the ETF.

Up to 15 days after the filing is submitted to the SEC, the filing is then published to the Federal Register. From that moment, the SEC has up to 240 days to approve or reject it (although it can come to a decision sooner than 240 days).

The 240-day process is split into four stages: 

  • A 45-day window initial review window, which can be extended to…
  • A second 45-day initial review window, which can be extended to…
  • A 90-day period called “Order Instituting Proceedings,” which can be extended to…
  • A final 60-day period, after which the SEC must publish its decision.

Note: Just because a filing progresses from one stage to another does not necessarily imply that it has an increased likelihood of approval. The SEC has historically extended most review deadlines to the full 240 days.


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    Pending Spot Bitcoin ETF Applications

    Firm
    19b-4 Record Date
    Last Possible Review
    Grayscale Bitcoin Trust
    I9b4 Record Date
    11/08/2021
    Last Possible Review
    TBD
    ARK/21 Shares Bitcoin ETF
    I9b4 Record Date
    05/15/2023
    Last Possible Review
    01/10/2024
    Bitwise Bitcoin ETP Trust
    I9b4 Record Date
    07/18/2023
    Last Possible Review
    03/14/2024
    iShares Bitcoin Trust
    I9b4 Record Date
    07/19/2023
    Last Possible Review
    03/15/2024
    VanEck Bitcoin Trust
    I9b4 Record Date
    07/19/2023
    Last Possible Review
    03/15/2024
    WisdomTree Bitcoin Trust
    I9b4 Record Date
    07/19/2023
    Last Possible Review
    03/15/2024
    Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin Trust
    I9b4 Record Date
    07/19/2023
    Last Possible Review
    03/15/2024
    Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust (Fidelity)
    I9b4 Record Date
    07/19/2023
    Last Possible Review
    03/15/2024
    Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund
    I9b4 Record Date
    07/21/2023
    Last Possible Review
    03/19/2024
    Global X Bitcoin Trust
    I9b4 Record Date
    08/23/2023
    Last Possible Review
    04/19/2024
    Hashdex Bitcoin ETF
    I9b4 Record Date
    10/03/2023
    Last Possible Review
    05/30/2024
    Franklin Bitcoin ETF
    I9b4 Record Date
    10/03/2023
    Last Possible Review
    05/30/2024

    Bitwise: A Leader in Crypto & ETFs

    Bitwise is a time-tested crypto asset management specialist with offices in San Francisco and New York. We leverage expertise in crypto, technology, regulation, and asset management to serve thousands of RIAs, wealth teams, family offices, and institutional investors across the U.S. Our suite of investment solutions includes the first publicly traded crypto index fund, the first crypto industry equity ETF, and the first Bitcoin futures ETF that utilizes an optimum roll strategy.

    Bitwise’s ETF team has decades of experience in ETFs and crypto. The firm has published and presented hundreds of pages of research for the SEC on the topic of Bitcoin ETFs, and has made multiple filings over the past five years. Our CIO, Matt Hougan, co-authored both “A Comprehensive Guide to Exchange-Traded Funds” and “Cryptoassets: A Guide to Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Cryptocurrencies for Investment Professionals” for the CFA Institute Research Foundation.

    Bitwise’s Crypto ETF & ETP History

    2017 — 
    Bitwise is founded, launches first crypto index fund
    7 years ago
    2018 — 
    Bitwise makes first ever filing for crypto index ETF
    6 years ago
    2019 — 
    Bitwise files application for spot Bitcoin ETF for the first time
    5 years ago
    2019 — 
    Bitwise presents SEC with 226 pages of research on Bitcoin spot market
    5 years ago
    2020 — 
    Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Fund (BITW) begins trading
    4 years ago
    2021 — 
    Bitwise files application for spot Bitcoin ETF for the second time
    3 years ago
    2021 — 
    Bitwise presents SEC with 100+ pages of research on Bitcoin spot market
    3 years ago
    2021 — 
    First crypto industry equity ETF begins trading
    3 years ago
    2022 — 
    Bitwise publishes response to spot Bitcoin ETF rejection
    2 years ago
    2022 — 
    New Web3 equity ETF begins trading
    2 years ago
    2023 — 
    First Bitcoin futures optimum roll strategy ETF begins trading
    1 year ago
    2023 — 
    Bitwise files application for spot Bitcoin ETF for the third time
    1 year ago
    2023 — 
    Bitwise presents SEC with 40+ pages of research on Bitcoin spot market
    1 year ago
    2023 — 
    First Ethereum futures ETF begins trading
    1 year ago
    2023 — 
    First Ethereum & Bitcoin futures equal weight ETF begins trading
    1 year ago
    Your Questions, Answered

    A team of experts at your fingertips.

    Receive real-time news updates on filings to launch Bitcoin ETFs

    Bitwise’s ETF experts keep you informed on the latest events in the space—including new filings, approvals, rejections, and updates to timelines—as they’re happening.

    About Bitwise

    Subscribe

    Subscribers will receive email bulletins whenever important news breaks. We’ll cover filings from both Bitwise and other issuers.