Saturday 28 May 2022
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SEC rejects ARK 21Shares spot Bitcoin ETF application

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, has officially disapproved the application for the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

In a Thursday filing, the SEC rejected a proposed rule change from the Chicago Board Options Exchange, or Cboe, BZX Exchange to list and trade shares of the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin (BTC) ETF. The SEC said the proposed rule change, originally published for comment in the Federal Register in August 2021, would not be “‘designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices” nor “protect investors and the public interest.”

The SEC said that the Cboe BZX Exchange had not met the requirements of listing a financial product under its rules of practice as well as those of the Exchange Act. Under these restrictions, exchanges seeking to list a Bitcoin ETF need to have “a comprehensive surveillance-sharing agreement with a regulated market of significant size related to the underlying or reference Bitcoin assets.”

21Shares, a Europe-based exchange-traded product issuer, submitted the spot Bitcoin ETF application with Ark Investment Management in June 2021 for listing on the Cboe BZX Exchange under the ticker ARKB. The SEC had 180 days to reach a decision or open the offering to public comment. In January 2022, the regulatory body extended its deliberation window to April.

To date, the SEC has not approved any spot crypto ETF application for listing shares in the United States but has given the green light to investment vehicles linked to BTC futures, including offerings from ProShares, VanEck and Valkyrie. As of October 2021, 21Shares was one of the largest institutional crypto product issuers, with more than $2 billion in assets under management reported.

Related: SEC could approve spot Bitcoin ETFs as early as 2023

Grayscale, one of the next asset managers likely to hear a decision from the regulatory body on its spot Bitcoin ETF, launched a campaign in February aimed at encouraging U.S. investors to submit comments to the SEC. The regulator is expected to reach a decision on Grayscale converting its Bitcoin Trust into a spot BTC ETF by July 6.

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