Bitwise’s Bitcoin ETF Disapproved by SEC

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stated yesterday that it hadn’t approved the Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by Bitwise Asset Management.


SEC’s Decision on Bitcoin ETF in Line with Expectations

While the SEC rejected Bitwise’s BTC ETF, the regulator didn’t mind to release a super-detailed explanation that counts 112 pages.



At the beginning of the year, NYSE Arca – the top US exchange for trading ETFs – filed an application with the SEC to list shares of the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Trust. Earlier this week, we reported that Matt Hougan, Bitwise’s head of research, was confident that the SEC would approve the listing.

However, the rest of the market hasn’t been that optimistic. Perhaps this is why the Bitcoin price wasn’t upset yesterday on the SEC order. On the contrary, the oldest coin out there surged 5% as the Fed announced a quantitative easing-like measure to boost the domestic economy.

The SEC stressed that its disapproval was not based on the evaluation of Bitcoin or blockchain – the technology underlying it. Instead, the commission rejected the proposal because NYSE Arca hadn’t met its responsibilities under the Exchange Act and the Commission’s Rules of Practice to prove that its product was in line with the requirements of Exchange Act Section 6(b)(5). Specifically, NYSE Arca had to ensure that its rules are “designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices.”

Nevertheless, the SEC did actually express its concerns over the Bitcoin market, mentioning several aspects that the regulator finds problematic. Ironically, the SEC referred to a Bitwise report according to which 95% of the Bitcoin trading volume is fake, citing it as an argument that the market is still at an emerging phase.

Bitwise’s Reaction

Soon after the SEC made its decision public, Bitwise released an official reaction, stating that it “appreciates the SEC Staff’s careful review and ongoing analysis related to bitcoin ETF applications.”

Hougan agrees that the approval of novel EFTs related to new asset classes has required many years of regulatory engagement.

Interestingly, Bitwise doesn’t seem to give up and intends to re-file another application:

We look forward to continuing to productively engage with the SEC to resolve their remaining concerns, and intend to re-file as soon as appropriate.

Do you think Bitwise will succeed to obtain a nod from the SEC next year? Share your expectations in the comments section!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @skew_markets

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