Bitcoin prices fell a bit on Wednesday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission delayed its decision whether to approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund for public markets.
The regulator pushed back its decision on the VanEck Bitcoin ETF petition to June 17. It had said it would rule on the issue by Tuesday.
"The commission finds that it is appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the comments received," the SEC said in a filing Wednesday.
Bitcoin briefly fell to $54,200 Wednesday. It was trading at about $54,765 at last check.
The agency's rules provide that it decide within 45 days of notification of a filing, but it may delay its decision up to 90 days if it finds that a longer review period is necessary.
Bitcoin ETFs exist in the U.S., but they do not directly own the cryptocurrency. Instead those portfolios are full of stocks that have exposure to blockchain technology.
VanEck's ETF proposes to hold bitcoin and will value its shares daily based on the reported MVIS CryptoCompare Bitcoin Benchmark rate, according to its prospectus filing with the SEC.
The Senate recently approved Gary Gensler to lead the SEC. Gensler is considered an expert on cryptocurrency and has taught classes on digital currencies and blockchain at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In the past, the SEC has expressed concern about the price volatility of bitcoin. In about a year the digital currency has more than quintupled its value.