Reports are emerging that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has rejected one, or possibly two, recent Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications signaling that the regulator is not quite ready for more exotic futures products just yet.
Just a day or so after Valkyrie filed for a leveraged Bitcoin futures ETF and Direxion applied for an inverse fund for bears, the SEC appears to have vetoed them both.
On Thursday, Bloomberg senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas referred to a Dow Jones alert indicating the Valkyrie leveraged fund had been shelved by the SEC. He added that the move was likely also to apply to the inverse fund application.
On Tuesday, ETF issuer Direxion filed for a Bitcoin Strategy Bear ETF that would enable speculators to buy futures that short the price of BTC. On the same day, Valkyrie filed for a leveraged BTC futures ETF that would have offered 1.25x exposure to the asset.
The Direxion product would be invested purely in futures; however, the Valkyrie one would have held futures, swaps, options and forwards. Another Dow Jones alert reported the SEC only seems interested in direct futures products at the moment, funds that buy contracts from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
The regulator does not seem keen to approve any products that invest in the asset itself or anything other than CME futures contracts at this stage. Balchunas confirmed:
“Would be interesting (and poss) if they let the Inverse one go through. That one was limited to futures. Valkyrie’s was a bit of a departure from that language.”
The ETF Store president Nate Geraci reported that two more ETFs had been applied for on Wednesday from AXS Investments. The SEC filings are for a regular Bitcoin Strategy ETF similar to the two already approved and another shorting or inverse fund.
Another Dow Jones report states that Grayscale is confident that the SEC will be ready to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF before July 2022.
On Oct. 19, Grayscale filed an application with the SEC to convert its popular Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a spot fund that is backed by the asset itself as opposed to futures contracts.
Geraci commented on the current lack of regulation over spot crypto markets, “So crypto markets/exchanges will be regulated by then? Seems ambitious.”
In related news, VanEck is making final preparations for the launch of its Bitcoin Strategy ETF, which will trade under the ticker XBTF. On Wednesday, Balchunas said there was a “good chance” it could start trading on Friday, Oct. 29, but possibly Thursday.