SEC Stonewalls Two Proposals for Bitcoin Listings

ICE's NYSE Arca and Van Eck Associates Corp have both withdrawn applications for Bitcoin listings.

Intercontinental Exchange Inc’s NYSE Arca exchange has withdrawn its application to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to list domestic bitcoin funds. The withdrawal at least temporarily stonewalls prospects to list Grayscale Investments LLC’s Bitcoin Investment Trust, citing regulatory concerns.

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Bitcoin’s meteoric rise has led to more questions than answers, especially given the recent stance taken by local authorities, namely in China. In the US, while cryptocurrency trading has caught fire, lingering concerns surrounding regulation has prevented broader offerings.

ICE had been pursuing a listing of Grayscale Investments Bitcoin trust, which if successful would have allowed investors to trade cryptocurrencies as seamlessly as stocks, according to a Reuters report. Additionally, investment management firm Van Eck Associates Corp also yanked its own registration document for a Bitcoin fund, given the SEC’s stance on the absence of cryptocurrency futures contracts.

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Grayscale Investments released a statement, indicating ongoing dialogue with US regulators: “Although digital currency market regulation continues to rapidly evolve, at this time Grayscale does not believe there have been enough regulatory developments to prompt the SEC to approve the … application.”

Immovable Object

The stance is a temporary blow to cryptocurrency funds, though it was not unexpected. The SEC has been one of the more immovable regulators regarding cryptocurrencies, even at a time when other authorities in Europe, Canda and elsewhere appear to be warming to them.

Dedicated to less formal exchange trading, Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust trades over-the-counter (OTC) rather than typical stock trading. A successful listing would have been a watershed moment for the US cryptocurrency industry and the SEC, likely facilitating other comparable listings from exchanges.

That will have to wait for now, given the regulator’s reluctance to approve such listings as of late amidst concerns surrounding an unregulated market. Approval would be a windfall for cryptocurrency investors, and so they keep trying.

ICE and Grayscale Investments are the two latest groups to see their initial bids stifled – earlier this year the SEC also denied Bitcoin products backed by investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

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