08.29.2017

Bitcoin-ETF Approval Dependent on Success of Options

08.29.2017

Bitcoin ETFs are off the table for now as the US Securities and Exchange Commission is letting its sibling regulator Commodity Futures Trading Commission take the first steps in regulating bitcoin-based options before the SEC approves digital currency ETFs, reports Bloomberg.

The SEC will want to consider how the trading platform and clearinghouse for bitcoin options traded on LedgerX matures and gains liquidity, according to John Servidio, a partner with McQuireWood. The CFTC approved LedgerX’s swap execution facility in July.

“The success or failure of the bitcoin option would drive the SEC’s analysis,” he added.

To the extent that the bitcoin ETF is based on the trading of instruments under the CFTC’s jurisdiction, it makes sense that the SEC would want those markets to be fully developed before approving a product—in this case, an ETF—that derives its prices from those markets, Paul Architzel, co-head of the futures and derivatives group at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, Washington, told Bloomberg BNA.

So far this year the SEC has rejected granting an exception for bitcoin ETF due to the lack of surveillance-sharing agreement among the regulated markets which would trade the instrument. However, the regulator has begun reviewing its decision at the bequest of Bats BZX exchange, which wants to list the fund on the exchange and made the initial submission.

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