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Once Again, SEC Rejects Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF

Bitcoin prices slipped after the close of U.S. markets Thursday amid reports that the Securities and Commission again rejected the Winklevoss brothers' efforts to launch an exchange traded fund tied to the largest cryptocurrency.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, founders of the Gemini digital currency exchange, have been trying to bring the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust to life for several years. The ETF, if it ever comes to life, is expected to trade under the ticker “COIN” and would track a basket of shares tied to bitcoin.

What Happened

The SEC “said in a release Thursday that it did not support the Winklevoss's argument that bitcoin markets, including the Gemini Exchange, are 'uniquely resistant to manipulation,'” reports CNBC.

The commission cited familiar concerns, such as fraud and investor protection. To date, the SEC hasn't approved any exchange traded products related to bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.

“The SEC emphasized that the disapproval does not rest on an evaluation of whether bitcoin or blockchain technology has value as an innovation or investment,” according to CNBC.

Why It's Important

The SEC's latest denial of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust comes just more than a month after the trust landed a patent that some market observers speculated could facilitate the debut of the fund.

“The United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded a patent to a firm called Winklevoss IP LLP for exchange-traded-products on June 19,” reports Finance Magnates. “The patent document details it as a method ‘for providing an exchange-traded-product holding digital math-based assets.’”

Additionally, the SEC's latest rebuff of a bitcoin ETF comes just days after Bitwise Asset Management filed plans for the Bitwise HOLD 10 Index Cryptocurrency Fund. If approved, that fund would track an index comprised of 10 of the largest digital currencies.

What's Next

The SEC didn't comment on VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust ETF (XBTC), which is currently under consideration. That product would be targeted at institutional investors as it would debut with a $200,000 price tag, if approved.

Earlier this week, the SEC postponed decisions on up to five bitcoin-related funds from Direxion, a major issuer of inverse and leveraged ETFs, until September.

In denying the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, the SEC expressed concerns about the bulk of bitcoin trading occurring outside the U.S. and still small volume for bitcoin futures trading on CBOE and CME.

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