The United States Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, has officially disapproved asset manager VanEck’s spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund months after the firm submitted its application.
According to a Friday filing, the SEC rejected a proposed rule change from the Cboe BZX Exchange to list and trade shares of VanEck’s Bitcoin (BTC) Trust. Specifically, the SEC said any rule change in favor of approving the ETF would not be “‘designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices” nor “protect investors and the public interest.”
“The Commission concludes that BZX has not met its burden under the Exchange Act and the Commission’s Rules of Practice to demonstrate that its proposal is consistent with the requirements of Exchange Act Section,” said the SEC, adding:
“It is essential for an exchange listing a derivative securities product to enter into a surveillance-sharing agreement with markets trading the underlying assets for the listing exchange to have the ability to obtain information necessary to detect, investigate, and deter fraud and market manipulation, as well as violations of exchange rules and applicable federal securities laws and rules.”
The regulatory body had a maximum of 240 days to approve or deny the offering following its publication in the Federal Register on March 19, giving the SEC until Nov. 14 to make a decision after extensions on April 28 and Sept. 8. Industry expert Bloomberg senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas said the SEC was highly unlikely to approve the VanEck fund given its track record of denying offerings from investment firms with exposure to crypto, a prediction which ultimately came to pass.
“[The SEC] address the inconsistency with not deeming CME a regulated mkt of sig size in spot denial but then approving futures ETFs,” said Balchunas. “It's such a good point, but SEC doesn't care. Not having it. Basically logic and reason are trumped by technical legality.”
Though the rejection may be a blow to many investors, the SEC has already approved ETFs linked to Bitcoin futures contracts. In October, shares of digital asset manager Valkyrie's and ProShares' BTC Strategy ETF launched on U.S. stock exchanges. ProShares' ETF has since risen to the top 2% of all ETFs in terms of total trading volume — roughly $400 million worth of shares traded on Nov. 10.
The impact on the price of Bitcoin saw the crypto asset briefly dip to $62,300 before returning to more than $63,000. The price marks a 9.7% fall since Bitcoin reached a new all-time high of $69,000 on Nov. 10.