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SEC Rejects Bitwise’s Latest Bitcoin ETF Proposal

Nikhilesh De

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has rejected the latest attempt at creating a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

The SEC announced Wednesday that the ETF proposal, filed by Bitwise Asset Management in conjunction with NYSE Arca, did not meet legal requirements to prevent market manipulation or other illicit activities. The SEC placed the burden on NYSE Arca, rather than Bitwise’s proposal itself.

To date, the SEC has rejected all bitcoin ETF proposals, citing market manipulation and fraudulent activity concerns.

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The order read:

“The Commission is disapproving this proposed rule change because, as discussed below, NYSE Arca 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 6(b)(5), and, in particular, the requirement that the rules of a national securities exchange be ‘designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices.'”

Bitwise first filed the ETF proposal with NYSE Arca in January 2019, kicking off its most recent push to offer retail customers a regulated bitcoin product. The company sought to be the first firm to launch an ETF in the U.S., alongside competitor VanEck, which filed a similar proposal in January with SolidX and Cboe BZX.

VanEck pulled its version last month.

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Bitwise tried to reassure the regulator that issues relating to market manipulation and fraudulent activity could be addressed, publishing a number of reports on what it saw as the “real” bitcoin market and showing that market activity correlated tightly with the regulated bitcoin futures markets.

With Wednesday’s rejection, the SEC only has one bitcoin ETF proposal currently sitting before it, filed by Wilshire Phoenix and NYSE Arca.

Bitwise Global Head of Research Matthew Hougan image via CoinDesk archives

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