(Bloomberg) -- The US Securities and Exchange Commission further delayed its review of applications from BlackRock Inc., Invesco Ltd. and others seeking to list the first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the US.

The regulator, whose three-part mandate includes investor protection, also postponed decisions on applications from Bitwise and Valkyrie, according to documents posted to its website. 

The delays come even though the SEC had until mid-October to weigh in on the applications. Regulators had earlier this week postponed a decision on a similar application from 21Shares and Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment Management.

Industry watchers are closely monitoring the race for a US spot-Bitcoin ETF, given the winner is expected to enjoy a significant first-mover advantage. At least 10 firms currently have applications pending with the SEC, according to a tally from Bloomberg Intelligence. The ETFs would be physically backed by the largest virtual currency.

The SEC had already postponed decisions on applications from BlackRock, Invesco, Bitwise and Valkyrie in August. It has also denied numerous past applications, citing scams and market manipulation among reasons as to why such ETFs shouldn’t trade in the US.

But a recent legal victory in federal court by Grayscale Investments, another firm seeking to debut a Bitcoin ETF, has fueled speculation among market watchers that such a structure would soon be approved. 

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, on Thursday traded around $27,000. It hit a record high of around $69,000 in 2021. 

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