The SEC Rejects the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF

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The Winklevoss’ quest to launch the first-ever bitcoin ETF sees a rejection by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Explaining the reason for its decision, the SEC published a public notice [PDF], excerpts of which can be found below.

“As discussed further below, the Commission is disapproving this proposed rule change  because it does not find the proposal to be consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Exchange Act,  which requires, among other things, that the rules of a national securities exchange be designed  to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices and to protect investors and the public  interest.5 The Commission believes that, in order to meet this standard, an exchange that lists and trades shares of commodity-trust exchange-traded products (“ETPs”) must, in addition to other applicable requirements, satisfy two requirements that are dispositive in this matter. First, the exchange must have surveillance-sharing agreements with significant markets for trading the underlying commodity or derivatives on that commodity. And second, those markets must be regulated.”

“Based on the record before it, the Commission believes that the significant markets for bitcoin are unregulated. Therefore, as the Exchange has not entered into, and would currently be unable to enter into, the type of surveillance-sharing agreement that has been in place with respect to all previously approved commodity-trust ETPs—agreements that help address concerns about the potential for fraudulent or manipulative acts and practices in this market—the Commission does not find the proposed rule change to be consistent with the Exchange Act.”

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