Yesterday the SEC announced that CBOE had pulled its filing for an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) to list shares of the VanEck Solid X Bitcoin Trust. While the announcement initially raised concerns from the Crypto community, an interview with CNBC later that day, the CEO of VanEck clarified that the withdrawal was a temporary measure. The Trump administration’s government shutdown has significantly affected the SEC’s manpower and resources. Therefore, the lack of resources could, justifiably, lead to a poor decision.
Ever since the Winkelvoss twins filed an ETF application that was rejected by the SEC in early 2017, numerous contenders have sought approval for the first Bitcoin futures index. The Crypto community has watched these applications with keen interest, as a means to establishing both credibility and mainstream adoption.
Why is a Bitcoin ETF Important?
There is an estimated USD $70 trillion held by institutional investors globally. Without a trusted, regulated platform to facilitate investment, these funds remain largely inaccessible to the Bitcoin and wider Crypto market. The start of 2019 which has been pockmarked by the hack of the Cryptopia Exchange and news of KYC data leaked from major Crypto exchanges which has only reinforced the need for more mature infrastructure.
It is worth considering that for all its influence, the SEC is only one regulatory body in one market. As other countries start advancing their own regulation, focus may shift away from the SEC to guide the regulatory landscape. The listing of the Amun Crypto Basket ETP on the SIX Swiss Exchange last year has seen the highest traded volumes of any exchange-traded product, and is perhaps the first validation of this.
2019 will likely see further volatility within the regulatory landscape for Cryptocurrencies. In addition, the ETF story is likely to remain one of the main protagonists. Industry analysts suggest that it may yet be too early for the SEC to push an ETF application through. How an ETF plays out globally will be a telling sign of sentiment from both the financial and regulatory powers.