(Bloomberg) -- The US Securities and Exchange Commission once again delayed making a decision on whether to approve the first US exchange-traded fund that invests directly in Bitcoin. 

The primary US securities regulator deferred on a filing from crypto exchange-traded-products issuer 21Shares and Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment Management, according to documents posted on its website Tuesday.

This is the third time the US regulator has punted its decision since ARK and 21Shares originally filed to launch the ETF in April. The SEC now has until Jan. 10 to make a final say. 

The regulator’s deferral comes earlier than industry analysts were expecting. Technically, they had until Nov. 11 to say whether they would approve, reject or delay a decision. A host of other issuers are also awaiting word, including heavyweights BlackRock Inc. and Fidelity Investments.

“I’m shocked they went this early on ARK and 21Shares. My assumption is they’re worried about the government shutdown and trying to get ahead of that,” said James Seyffart, ETF analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. 

The SEC also delayed making a decision on Global X’s spot-Bitcoin ETF filing. 

Bitcoin was largely unchanged at $26,161 as of 6:52 p.m. in New York. 

(Updates Bitcoin price. A previous version corrected the spelling of money manager cited in fourth paragraph)

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.