Is a Bitcoin ETF on the way?

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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner, Robert J Jackson Jr, is optimistic about a Bitcoin ETF and suggests in an interview with Congressional Quarterly that one isn’t far off.

Although this information wasn’t supposed to be released until 11th February, it got leaked on Twitter by Drew Hinkes, from an outfit called Athena Blockchain.

In the interview, Jackson discusses the difficulty in getting the SEC’s blessing for investment vehicles like exchange-traded funds. In his own words, “Getting the stamp of approval from the deepest and most liquid capital markets in the world is hard, and it should be. Once we put the stamp of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on an investment; once we make it available to everyday mom and pop investors, we are taking risks that Americans can get hurt.”

He also discussed the ETF applications that the SEC has received, including one from the Winklevoss twins and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe), saying, “I’m happy to say market participants have begun to come in with ideas. Whether or not we’re going to find one that really protects investors I don’t know, but I do know that that case wasn’t especially close.”

The Cboe resubmitted its application for its VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust in January. This fund would allow wealthy traders and institutions to invest in bitcoin through a convenient investment vehicle that they are familiar with.

It is clear from an SEC announcement made in January that cryptocurreencies will be a priority for the regulator this year. According to a CCN report base don information from the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), the OCIE will head up the effort regarding crypto and will pay special attention to such things as the ‘offer and sale, trading, and management of digital assets’ as suggested by this statement from OCIE: “OCIE will take steps to identify market participants offering, selling, trading, and managing these products or considering or actively seeking to offer these products and then assess the extent of their activities. For firms actively engaged in the digital asset market, OCIE will conduct examinations focused on, among other things, portfolio management of digital assets, trading, safety of client funds and assets, pricing of client portfolios, compliance, and internal controls.”

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