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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > SEC

Bitcoin ETFs Face Regulatory Hurdles

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While Bitcoin exchange-traded funds are in the works, they must first get the go-ahead from regulators.

For instance, the Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking comment on new cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds that seek to be listed and traded on the Chicago Board Options Exchange, or Cboe.

Cboe filed a proposal to list and trade shares of the First Trust Bitcoin Strategy ETF and the First Trust Inverse Bitcoin Strategy ETF, as well as a proposed rule change to list and trade shares of the REX Bitcoin Strategy ETF and the REX Short Bitcoin Strategy ETF.

The new Bitcoin ETF filings come just as another Bitcoin ETF has withdrawn its filing, citing SEC concerns. Two other firms, ProShares and VanEck, also withdrew their Bitcoin ETF filings on Tuesday.

Trusts controlled by Rafferty Asset Management LLC and Exchange Traded Concepts LLC each canceled plans to launch three Bitcoin funds that could be traded by retail investors as easily as stocks, according to CNBC.

ProShare withdrew its filing for amendment it requested on Dec. 19 regarding ProShares Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF and ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF, each a new series of the Trust. 

VanEck withdrew its Dec. 11 filing for the VanEck Vectors ETF Trust. 

As the law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath said in a Tuesday client alert, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton noted recently that to date, no ICOs have been registered with the SEC, and the SEC has not approved any exchange-traded products holding cryptocurrencies.

However, as the Drinker Biddle attorneys note, there are at least six ETF sponsors who have filed registration statements for ETFs that would hold Bitcoin or obtain exposure to Bitcoin through futures contracts.

“No action has been taken to date on the registration statements” regarding the Cboe filings, the attorney said, and at least one of those six applications was withdrawn.

— Check out Wirehouses Say No to Bitcoin on ThinkAdvisor.


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