With the federal government now having been “shut down” for a month, we’re starting to hear more and more accounts of the toll it is taking. While much of the focus has been on government workers and the hardships they’re having to endure by working without pay and missing paychecks, there are more and more stories of businesses too that are having to engage in contingencies due to the shutdown. From breweries unable to get government approval for new beer labels to airlines unable to get federal inspectors to audit their maintenance and repair, there are a number of industries that are being affected.
The cryptocurrency industry isn’t exempt from the shutdown either, as the furloughing of many employees at both the SEC and CFTC is putting numerous Bitcoin-related projects on hold. Prominent among those are the launch of yet another Bitcoin futures market, this time one created by Intercontinental Exchange. Initially set to launch this week, that timeline is certain to be pushed into the future by the shutdown.
Another prominent proposal awaiting approval is a CBOE-backed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). The project has already been delayed a number of times, and the SEC is still considering whether or not to approve the ETF. To date SEC has not approved any proposal for a Bitcoin or cryptocurrency ETF, with nearly a dozen rejected in 2018. While SEC has yet to rule on the current proposal, it could theoretically be approved by default if the agency doesn’t take action by the end of February. However, it’s more likely that the agency will reject the application and require it to be resubmitted once the government is open to give itself more time to look into it rather than allow it to be approved by default.
Thankfully regular Bitcoin investment vehicles such as Bitcoin IRAs aren’t affected by the shutdown, which is good news for investors. While Bitcoin adoption would benefit from the approval of some of these new investment options, delaying their approval won’t be the end of the world. Hopefully this shutdown will be only a minor blip in Bitcoin’s history and won’t result in any long-term effects on Bitcoin’s adoption.