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April 4, 2022

The SEC Rejects Another Bitcoin ETF Application

The SEC has once again rejected a Bitcoin spot ETF. Ark 21Shares, a collaboration between famed investor Cathie Wood’s Ark Investments and 21Shares, has been rejected by the SEC.

For a long time, the crypto sector in the United States has advocated for a Bitcoin spot ETF in order to establish a familiar onboarding experience for institutions interested in the crypto market. The SEC, on the other hand, has repeatedly rejected spot ETF applications.

This time, the Gary Gensler-led SEC denies Ark 21Shares’ proposal to establish a Bitcoin-backed ETF listed and traded on the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (Cboe, BZX Exchange). Again, the SEC’s reasons for denying the application are the same.

“The Commission concludes that BZX has not met its burden under the Exchange Act and the Commission’s Rules of Practice to demonstrate that its proposal is consistent with the requirements of Exchange Act Section 6(b)(5), and in particular, the requirement that the rules of a national securities exchange be ‘designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices’ and ‘to protect investors and the public interest.’”

Ark 21Shares submitted its initial application with the SEC in June of last year. The SEC issued the application for public comment in August. However, the SEC continues to postpone its judgment on whether or not to approve the application, with the most recent postponement being on January 25th.

While the crypto industry waits for a Bitcoin spot ETF, the SEC has authorized seven Bitcoin futures-based ETFs. Gary Gensler, the SEC’s chairman, has stated that he favours the futures-backed product to a spot ETF. The SEC has already rejected three Bitcoin spot ETF proposals this year, with Fidelity and Skybridge Capital unhappy in January.

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The SEC is now considering Grayscale and Bitwise petitions for a spot ETF. Decisions on the proposed ETFs, which were introduced in October, are due in July. The SEC invited public opinions on the applications in February.

Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein indicated less than a week ago, when speaking with Bloomberg, that the business was combining all available resources to obtain SEC clearance. Sonnenshein did, however, imply that if their application was denied, Grayscale would not be adverse to pursuing remedy in court.