This month, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) and The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the world’s largest options and stock exchange, filed six bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In March, the Winklevoss twins failed to convince the US SEC to approve the COIN bitcoin ETF. After a lengthy approval process, the SEC rejected the ETF, stopping the launch of the first regulated bitcoin investment vehicle on a major stock market.
At the time, the global bitcoin market and finance industry had highly anticipated the launch of a Bitcoin ETF, because bitcoin futures, exchange-traded notes (ETNs), and strictly regulated cryptocurrency brokerages were not available for institutional and retail traders.
After the rejection from the SEC, the price of bitcoin decreased from $1,300 to $900, marking a 30 percent drop in price.
CoinCenter, a non-profit research and cryptocurrency advocacy center, explained that the SEC had rejected the filing of the COIN bitcoin ETF due to lack of regulations in overseas bitcoin markets. Jerry Brito, the executive director at CoinCenter said in March:
“The Winklevoss ETF proposal was rejected because the SEC found that the significant markets for Bitcoin tend to be unregulated overseas markets that are potentially subject to price manipulation. But this creates a chicken and egg problem. How do we develop well-capitalized and regulated markets in the U.S. and Europe if financial innovators aren’t allowed to bring products to market that grow domestic demand for digital currencies like Bitcoin?”
Since then, the global bitcoin regulatory landscape has drastically changed. Overseas markets such as Japan and South Korea have imposed stricter regulations than the US, with Japan and South Korea implementing national licensing programs for cryptocurrency exchanges, enforcing strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules.
Japan has also evolved into the second largest bitcoin exchange market in the world, processing more than 32.7 percent of global bitcoin trades.
Considering the evolution of bitcoin regulation and the fact the filings were made by Cboe who have been responsible for successfully listing bitcoin futures, which has proved that investors can trade bitcoin in a regulated environment with minimal risks and investor protection, it is more likely that an ETF will be approved within the next 12 months.
A Cboe spokesperson stated:
“Given the success of the launch of our bitcoin futures, several partners are very interested in moving forward with the development of an exchange-traded product.”
The SEC filing of NYSE’s bitcoin ETFs revealed that the price of bitcoin will be based on the futures market of Cboe and CME, not the global average price in the cryptocurrency exchange market.
“The Fund will not be benchmarked to the current price of bitcoin and will not invest directly in bitcoin. When the price of Bitcoin Futures Contracts held by the Fund declines, the Fund will lose value,” read the filing.