- The Securities and Exchange Commission rejected a second attempt by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, founders of crypto exchange Gemini, to list the first-ever cryptocurrency ETF on a regulated exchange.
- The U.S. financial watchdog has yet to approve a cryptocurrency-based ETF and in the release Thursday highlights issues with security, market manipulation and investor protection issues.
- Bitcoin fell below $7,900 following the news after hitting a two-month high this week, which was partially fueled by rumors that the SEC could approve a similar trading vehicle as early as August.
The Securities and Exchange Commission rejected a second attempt by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, founders of crypto exchange Gemini, to list shares of what would be the first-ever bitcoin ETF.
The June proposal from BATS BZX Exchange to list and trade the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust’s commodity-based shares was voted down 3-1 by the commission Thursday.
The price of bitcoin dipped 3 percent to $7,880 following the news, according to data from Coinbase.
Last year, the SEC disapproved an application for the “Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust” but in June, the group submitted a proposed rule change. Among other arguments, the agency said in a release Thursday that it did not support the Winklevoss’s argument that bitcoin markets, including the Gemini Exchange, are “uniquely resistant to manipulation.” It also highlighted issues of fraud and investor protection.
The SEC emphasized that the disapproval does not rest on an evaluation of whether bitcoin or blockchain technology has value as an innovation or investment.
But the agency indicated that its mission is designed to prevent fraudulent or manipulative acts or practices and to protect investors, and that they were concerned about fraud and manipulation of bitcoin, particularly since this is done in a largely unregulated offshore market.
The U.S. financial watchdog has yet to approve a cryptocurrency-based ETF. It published a letter in January pointing to “significant investor protection issues that need to be examined” before sponsors can offer these funds to retail investors.
The SEC noted that more than three-fourths of the volume in bitcoin occurs outside the United States, and that 95 percent of the volume occurred on non-U.S. exchanges.
The bid-ask spreads varied widely across exchanges, the SEC said. The volume in bitcoin futures markets are small: 20 percent the volume of platinum, and 2.5 percent that of silver.