Bitcoin’s price lost more than one percent Tuesday after US regulators rejected a proposal by Intercontinental Exchange Inc’s NYSE Arca exchange to list and trade the SolidX Bitcoin Trust, dashing hopes of turning the digital currency into a proper investment vehicle for the second time this month.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) refused to grant an exemption that would have let the blockchain technology firm SolidX become the first bitcoin-based ETF to launch on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). In an order disapproving of the proposed rule change, the agency said it believed the significant markets for bitcoin are unregulated.
The SEC repeatedly delayed making a decision on the application, first extending the time it had to act on the proposal in September, then instituting formal proceedings to determine approval in October, and again extending its deadline to March 28 in January.
Despite investor interest, it seems unlikely that the SEC would be comfortable using bitcoin as an underlying asset in a regulated investment vehicle any time soon.
Earlier this month, the 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 marked 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 SEC’s disapproval decision was made by “the Division of Trading and Markets pursuant to delegated authority”. However, the agency’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”.
The double rejection ends a months-long rally that pushed bitcoin’s value higher than gold. Bitcoin fell as much as 18 percent to $978.76 after the denial of the Winklevoss-proposed ETF. The price had previously hit the $1,300 level.
Founded in 2014, SolidX Partners Inc., which develops blockchain products and services focusing on capital markets, raised $3 million from investors with the goal of offering total return swaps to large institutional bitcoin investors.