In an unexpected turn of events, Bitwise submitted a request to retract its application for its Bitcoin and Ether Market Cap Weight Strategy exchange-traded fund (ETF), initially filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Aug. 3.
While market sentiment turned bullish following Grayscale’s SEC victory, Bitwise appears to be reassessing its strategy. The withdrawal of the ETF application was unexpected; however, in the filing, a statement read, “The fund seeks to provide investors with capital appreciation. There can be no assurance that the fund will achieve its investment objective.”
Bitwise chief investment officer Matt Hougan advocated for SEC approval of all ETFs in a recent Bloomberg interview. The ETF intended to invest in either Bitcoin (BTC) futures contracts or Ether (ETH) futures contracts, determined by market capitalization. Bitwise also collaborated with ProShares to launch another ETF around the same time.
In the withdrawal statement, Bitwise said:
“The Trust no longer intends to seek effectiveness of the Fund and no securities of the Fund were sold, or will be sold, pursuant to the above-mentioned Post-Effective Amendment to the Trust’s Registration Statement.”
The SEC has delayed its decision on Bitcoin ETF applications from WisdomTree, Invesco Galaxy, Valkyrie, VanEck, BlackRock, Bitwise and Fidelity. According to a SEC filing dated Aug. 31, the commission has designated a longer period in which it may review spot Bitcoin ETF applications from WisdomTree, VanEck, Invesco Galaxy, Bitwise and Valkyrie, Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust proposed by Fidelity, as well as BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF. The next set of deadlines for the SEC is in mid-October, but these may also be delayed to the SEC’s third batch of deadlines in January or to the final possible decision dates in March, April and May of next year.
Bitwise was among the early asset management firms that lodged applications with the SEC for Bitcoin ETF products. Its January 2019 application with the U.S. securities regulator proposed a BTC-backed ETF tracking the Bitwise Bitcoin Total Return Index, which is calculated based on the value of Bitcoin derived from BTC transactions taking place on exchanges.
The company’s proposed Bitcoin ETF was touted to draw market data from a number of cryptocurrency exchanges in an effort to provide a trusted representation of the wider cryptocurrency markets. The firm would also require third-party custodians to physically hold Bitcoin.
Bitwise’s recent withdrawal isn’t its first. Earlier this year, it submitted an application for an Ethereum Strategy ETF designed to invest in both front-time and back-time Ethereum futures. However, the asset manager withdrew its application just one week later.
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