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SEC Reviewing NYSE Arca’s Bitcoin ETF Rule Change

By Emily Rys | February 19, 2019
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SEC Reviewing NYSE Arca’s Bitcoin ETF Rule Change

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently reviewing a proposal by NYSE Arca for a change of rule on its Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) with Bitwise, according to an official SEC notice (Feb 15).

NYSE Arca filed the rule change proposal on Jan 28 for permission to list and trade shares of Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Trust under its NYSE Arca Rule 8.201-E.

SEC will have to make its decision to approve or reject the proposal within 45 days of its public announcement on February 15. If more time is required, SEC may extend the review period by up to 90 days and should disclose its reasons for extending.

Written public feedback on the proposal is accepted until March 8, according to the notice.

Earlier in 2019, NYSE Arca and Bitwise Asset Management had announced their plans for a physically held Bitcoin ETF called Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Trust, which they filed with SEC in January. The aim was for the fund’s shares to be listed on NYSE Arca, and track the Bitwise Bitcoin Total Return Index – an index based on Bitcoin prices drawn across various crypto exchanges.

Advanced, precisely, for the institution of five Bitcoin ETFs directly linked to the Bitcoin futures, as listed on NYSE Arca, along with the futures price on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) as part of its plans with crypto index fund provider Bitwise Asset Management in January 2019.

The rule change proposal is only being reviewed by SEC now because of delays from the latest US government shutdown.

The BZX Equity Exchange retracted its rule change proposal for an investment firm VanEck and financial services company SolidX as a result of the SEC’s rather reserved operation related to the U.S. government shutdown. A CBOE representative reportedly hinged the withdrawal with the shutdown, but that Bitwise would re-file the proposal in another time.

Bitcoin Magazine noted that the SEC has so far rejected almost every Bitcoin ETF application it received, including requests from ProShares, five ETF proposals from Direxion, Gemini and GraniteShares. Proposals not rejected were mainly delayed until their submissions were withdrawn.

In a recent panel, a Commissioner at the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Brian Quintenz argued against SEC’s dim view of Bitcoin ETFs, saying probable association with price manipulation alone should not deter it from approving a Bitcoin ETF. “Crypto mom” Hester Peirce seemingly agreed with Quintez, saying SEC could still build products on top of unregulated markets.

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