SEC reportedly says spot bitcoin ETF filings are not clear

Regulator said to have informed Nasdaq and Cboe Global Markets about lack of detail in applications

A banner for the first listed Bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund in the US outside the New York Stock Exchange. AFP
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The US Securities and Exchange Commission has said a recent wave of applications filed by asset managers to establish spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, which would allow investors to have exposure to the cryptocurrency,are not adequately clear and detailed, according to a new report.

The regulator has informed about the irregularities to exchanges Nasdaq and Cboe Global Markets, which filed the applications on behalf of asset managers such as BlackRock and Fidelity Investments, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing sources.

Earlier this month, the world's biggest asset manager BlackRock filed for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. The asset management company’s iShares Bitcoin Trust will use Coinbase Custody as its custodian, according to a filing with the SEC on June 15.

An ETF is a type of pooled investment security that operates much like a mutual fund.

Typically, ETFs will track a particular index, sector, commodity or other assets, but unlike mutual funds, ETFs can be purchased or sold on a stock exchange the same way that a regular stock can.

Bitcoin price has surged more than 17 per cent since mid-June when BlackRock filed paperwork with the SEC for a spot Bitcoin ETF.

Bitcoin was trading 1.47 per cent down at $30,009.80 at 8.20pm UAE time on Friday.

In April, the world’s biggest digital currency climbed above the key $30,000 mark for the first time since June 2022, but is still down more than 55 per cent from its record high of more than $68,000 in November 2021.

The global cryptocurrency market has been caught in the crosshairs of the US securities regulator on alleged breaches of securities laws and following the collapse of FTX last year.

The agency has sued major exchanges Coinbase and Binance in lawsuits that accused them of allegedly running unregistered securities exchanges. It has also accused Binance of co-mingling customer funds with its own.

Coinbase, which dropped more than 4.42 per cent to $69.23 a share following the WSJ report on Friday, has said that a lack of clear rules for the digital assets industry is hurting the US economic competitiveness.

In the past, the SEC has rejected several spot Bitcoin ETF applications from other asset managers, citing market concerns and a lack of investor protections, among other things.

Updated: June 30, 2023, 6:17 PM