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SEC Rejects Listing of Two Bitcoin ETFs

The SEC rejected two proposals to list and trade shares in two Bitcoin exchange-traded funds ("ETFs").

The SEC rejected a proposal from NYSE Arca, Inc. ("Arca") to list and trade shares of the Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund. The SEC also rejected a proposal from CBOE BZX Exchange, Inc. ("BZX") to list and trade shares of the Kryptoin Bitcoin ETF Trust.

The SEC assessed whether the exchanges (i) had a comprehensive surveillance-sharing agreement with a significant, regulated market, and (ii) could effectively prevent fraudulent and manipulative activity. In the rejected proposals, the SEC noted its concerns over the abilities of the exchanges to adequately meet the requirements under SEA Section 6(b)(5) ("Determination by Commission Requisite to Registration of Applicant as a National Securities Exchange") in protecting investors and the public interest by preventing fraudulent and manipulative practices.

The SEC rejected Arca's argument that (i) liquidity, (ii) price arbitrage, and (iii) frameworks to value assets would be sufficient to mitigate potential manipulation.

Similarly, the SEC rejected BZX's proposal, concluding "that BZX has not established that it has a comprehensive surveillance-sharing agreement with a regulated market of significant size related to bitcoin," and "that BZX has not established that other means to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices are sufficient to justify dispensing with the requisite surveillance-sharing agreement."

As a result, the SEC found that both exchanges had failed to prove that they could meet their burdens under SEA Section 6(b)(5).

© Copyright 2022 Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 357
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