Only two days ago, August 23, the US SEC once again rejected all Bitcoin ETF requests, this time filed by Direxion and ProShares. Experts claim that the reason behind the rejection is fear of ETFs leading to fraud and market manipulation.
Winklevoss twins Bitcoin ETF proposal
About a month ago, the SEC stated that market manipulation is a real concern, which is why they rejected the Bitcoin ETF request filed by the Winklevoss twins. The twins managed to establish Bitcoin’s values through the use of their crypto exchange, Gemini, which is said to be strictly regulated.
However, this was not enough for the SEC, and the Commission stated that the markets can be relatively easy to manipulate, given the opportunity. Relying on one single exchange to dictate Bitcoin ETFs’ value would be exactly one such opportunity. Bitcoin ETF can potentially lead billions in new capital to the market, and this is too serious an amount, and represents a high risk to the economy, in general.
Prior to the refusal, the twins were convinced that their proposal actually had a good chance to be approved. This was additionally supported by Nasdaq’s involvement, which is the second-biggest stock market in the world. Nasdaq is involved in Gemini’s operations so that all tradings and the market itself would always remain authentic and completely transparent.
Direxion and ProShares made their own attempt
After the SEC rejected the request of the Winklevoss brothers, it received new proposals filed by Direxion and ProShares. Their proposals used CME and Cboe futures markets, which are also very strictly regulated, to try and establish their ETF’s value. However, the SEC found a flaw to this proposal as well and stated that, while CME and Cboe are, in fact, regulated markets, the BTC futures markets are not large enough to be used for establishing the value of ETFs.
According to the government enforcement defense and securities litigation attorney, Jake Chervinsky, the real reason for the SEC rejecting all of these ETFs is the risk of fraud and market manipulation. If the ETF’s design significantly lowers or even prevents these risks, then the SEC would approve it. Unfortunately, these ETFs are not designed in such a way.
He also said that the SEC was not satisfied with the two institutions’ efforts to only rely on the futures markets. This is due to the fact that the majority of BTC trading still goes down in unregulated exchanges and markets. This makes the BTC futures markets too small, as well as unable to provide enough information regarding the market participants’ identities.
In time, when the BTC futures market grows, and regulated financial institutions expand enough to create bigger futures markets, the SEC might change its mind regarding the ETFs backed by derivatives. However, for now, the SEC has no intention to approve marked-backed futures in the US. Even so, many believe that the ETFs filed by Cboe and VanEck have the highest chance to actually be approved in a relatively short period, which remains to be seen.
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