The Securities and Exchange Commission delayed its review of ARK Invest’s application for a spot bitcoin ETF on Friday, giving the public three weeks to comment.

The decision on the Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKA) application has sparked some cautious optimism among crypto investors as the SEC also continues to assess spot bitcoin applications from BlackRock, Fidelity Investments and others.

The SEC said the ARK application "sufficiently demonstrates that the CME Bitcoin Futures market represents a regulated market of significant size, and that on the whole the manipulation concerns previously articulated by the Commission are sufficiently mitigated to the point that they are outweighed by investor protection issues that would be resolved by approving this proposal.”

The agency also said that the ARK proposal “is in particular, designeded to protect investors and the public interest.”

The SEC also said that it will execute a surveillance-sharing agreement with crypto exchange Coinbase that is intended to supplement the exchange’s market surveillance program. The surveillance-sharing agreement would give the SEC supplemental access to data regarding spot bitcoin trades on the exchange.

Crypto investors have been waiting with anticipation on the SEC's decision regarding the multiple spot bitcoin ETFs, with some observers saying it could open the floodgates for cryptocurrency investments to enter the mainstream.

ARK Investment Management CEO and CIO Cathie Wood told Bloomberg TV recently that when the agency approves a spot bitcoin ETF, it will approve multiple applications at the same time.

“I think the SEC, if it’s going to approve a bitcoin ETF, will approve more than one at once,” she said.

Matt Hougan, the chief investment officer of Bitwise, which has an application pending for a spot bitcoin ETF, said late last week during a webinar that there is at least a 50% chance that the SEC under Chair Gary Gensler approves a spot bitcoin ETF.

“They’re trading and trading well in Canada, Germany, Scandinavia, Brazil. I think it’s established you can have one, and I think we’ll get one here soon,” Hougan told Ric Edelman, founder of the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals (DACFP), during the council’s webinar on spot bitcoin ETFs.

“Even if this current batch of applications didn’t get approval, I don’t think it would be a huge setback,"  Hougan said. "Maybe some disappointment, a little bit of reset, but as long as it’s somewhat close ahead of us, I think that investors can wait for that impact."

In terms of what will happen if a spot bitcoin ETF is approved, Hougan said “the long-term spot price impact is positive and significant. We expect there will be significant inflows into a spot bitcoin ETF over time. But if you look at the impact of novelty ETFs, it takes multiple years for them to fully get up to speed.”

Edelman said he expects a multiplicative increase in bitcoin's value if spot bitcoin ETFs become a reality. Bitcoin currently trades at around $29,000, which is down from a high of just over $60,000 in late 2021 but up from about $16,000 at the end of 2022.

“Between the likelihood of an ETF and bitcoin halving in 2024 ... I expect bitcoin to be in the neighborhood of $150,000 by the summer of 2025,” Edelman said.

“I love that answer, Ric. I’m down with that,” Hougan added.