SEC Forces Reality Shares to Withdraw Bitcoin ETF Application

Reality Share already has two blockchain ETFs in partnership with Nasdaq.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has requested the firm behind first Blockchain exchange-traded funds to put its plans to create a bitcoin ETF product on halt.

Reality Shares, a California-based investment company known for being the first to start selling blockchain ETFs, filed a registration form with the SEC earlier this week to list its Bitcoin ETF. However, the agency today requested the issuers to withdraw their filings.

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If approved, NYSE Arca, the exchange owned and operated by the ‎Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)‎‏,‏ would have hosted the proposed listing.

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According to the application, which provides details about the ‘Reality Shares Blockforce Global Currency Strategy ETF,’ the new vehicle would not be exclusively comprised of bitcoin future. Rather, the fund, if it comes to life, would invest in sovereign debts, money market mutual funds or other cash equivalents.

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“The Fund expects to obtain exposure to Bitcoin Futures by investing up to 25% of its total assets in a wholly-owned and controlled Cayman Islands subsidiary,” and would also include “high-quality, short-term sovereign debt instruments listed for trading on U.S. exchanges and denominated in U.S. dollar, euro, British pounds sterling, Japanese yen and Swiss francs,” the filing further reads.

To this point, the SEC has not approved any issuers’ plans for bitcoin or cryptocurrency ETFs. The regulator refused earlier to review bitcoin ETF applications for tracking cryptocurrency futures, such as the one proposed by Reality Shares, citing that the contracts didn’t exist. However, the process has become murkier even after nearly two years of debuting Bitcoin futures on Cboe and CME group.

So 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. The SEC also denied a request to approve the Winklevoss twins’ bid to list its bitcoin ETF on the BATS exchange, while Cboe BZX Exchange shelved its proposal for the coveted license.

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