The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has denied a proposal by investment manager VanEck for the creation of a spot Bitcoin trust, a financial product that would allow investors to trade Bitcoin on regulated exchanges. This marks the latest instance of the SEC denying every application for a spot Bitcoin trust, with almost 20 such applications having been filed over the last six years.
In a statement, SEC Commissioners Mark Uyeda and Hester Peirce criticized the Commission’s decision and alleged that it was using a different set of criteria to evaluate spot Bitcoin trusts as compared to other commodity-based exchange-traded products (ETPs). The statement reads, “In our view, the Commission is using a different set of goalposts from those it used—and still uses—for other types of commodity-based ETPs to keep these spot bitcoin ETPs off the exchanges we regulate.”
The SEC’s decision comes amidst increasing institutional interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investments, with Bitcoin recently reaching all-time highs in price. However, the SEC has been hesitant to approve financial products based on cryptocurrencies due to concerns about market manipulation, volatility, and fraud.
The proposed spot Bitcoin trust would have allowed investors to trade Bitcoin on regulated exchanges, providing greater accessibility to the cryptocurrency market. However, the SEC’s decision means that investors will continue to be limited in their ability to invest in Bitcoin through regulated channels.
VanEck had previously attempted to launch a Bitcoin ETF (exchange-traded fund) in 2017 but withdrew its application after facing resistance from the SEC. The investment manager had hoped that its proposal for a spot Bitcoin trust, which would have required less regulatory approval than an ETF, would have been more successful.
Despite the SEC’s decision, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies remain popular investments among retail and institutional investors. However, the lack of regulatory oversight and potential for market manipulation in the cryptocurrency market continues to be a concern for regulators and investors alike. The denial of VanEck’s proposal for a spot Bitcoin trust highlights the ongoing debate over how best to regulate and integrate cryptocurrency investments into traditional financial systems.