Bats Lays Path to Appeal SEC’s Decision to Reject Winklevoss’s Bitcoin ETF

The regulators have questions and concerns about how bitcoin could be priced and traded effectively.

Bats BZX Exchange, operated by Lenexa-based Bats Global Markets, Inc. (Bats: BATS), today announced plans to appeal the SEC’s ruling to reject its proposal for the first exchange-traded fund that would track the price of the Bitcoin.

Announced in an order on March 10, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) denied a request to approve the Winklevoss twins’ bid to list a bitcoin ETF on the BATS exchange under the ticker COIN. The decision also marks a setback for Bats Global Markets, which proposed the fund, after the SEC based its rejection on Bats’ inability to reach “security surveillance sharing agreements” that could “help address concerns about the potential for fraudulent or manipulative acts and practices”.

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“Based on the record before it, the Commission believes that the significant markets for bitcoin are unregulated. The commission notes that bitcoin is still in the relatively early stages of its development and that, over time, regulated bitcoin-related markets of significant size may develop,” the SEC said in a statement.

The Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, owned by brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, filed the first bitcoin ETF application with the U.S. regulator three years ago. The twin brothers have been among the most public advocates for a bitcoin ETF and they also currently run both WinkDex, a bitcoin price index, and Gemini, a bitcoin custodian and exchange.

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Earlier in October 2016, the Commission pushed back the date to approve the Winklevoss’ request to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the exchange-traded product.

Bats Exchange’s letter officially serves as a “notice of intention to petition for review of order disapproving a proposed rule change” pertaining to the listing and trading of Coin ETF which the Commission rejected on March 10. The SEC’s disapproval decision was made by “the Division of Trading and Markets pursuant to delegated authority”.

The SEC’s rules of practice provides that “a party to an action made pursuant to delegated authority, or a person aggrieved by such action, may seek Commission review of the action by filing a written notice of intention to petition for review”.

Meanwhile, the SEC’s rejection could be extended to the application submitted by SolidX Partners, Inc., to launch an ETF that tracks the price of Bitcoin, which is due on March 30. The proposed exchange-traded product, which could be the first bitcoin ETF on a major stock exchange, will be called ‘SolidX Bitcoin Trust’ and will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol XBTC, subject to regulatory approval.

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