When news broke that the US SEC had rejected a total of nine separate applications for Bitcoin Exchange-traded fund (ETFs), a key player in the industry feared the worst for not just the markets, but the future of the technology as well. But this may not actually be the bad news that everyone first thought it would be and this is why.
Whilst the cryptocurrency industry is pretty keen to launch exchange-traded funds (ETFs), regulatory bodies such as the SEC do not share their enthusiasm. For many, a crypto-ETF is seen as the next big milestone in the mainstream adoption of crypto and virtual assets.
Over the last few years, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has received a number of ETF proposals from companies and individuals such as the Winklevoss twins, none of which have passed its stringent sets of criteria. It seems that they are not convinced that the world of cryptocurrencies is ready for ETFs just yet.
Back in 2013, the Winklevoss twins were the first to file a Bitcoin-based ETF proposal and the agency mulled over its decision before rejecting the proposal around four years later. Then, in June, the twins filed another proposal which was swiftly rejected by the agency. Following the most recent round of rejections, the SEC has promised to review its decision but it seems unlikely that they are set to rule in favour of BTC ETFs any time soon.
The main reason for all of these rejections has been cited as the risk of market manipulation and the fact that the regulated market is not big enough to warrant such a decision. The issue of market manipulation remains as one of the biggest concerns in the crypto world. As a very small number of people own a very large amount of cryptocurrency (known as whales) this means that technically, prices can be artificially increased or decreased to suit the agenda of a few. The fact of the matter is that most creators of cryptocurrency retain large amounts of the coin, for example, Satoshi Nakamoto has 5.88% of all BTC, Ripple owns 60% of the XRP supply and the majority of ICO companies retain around 25% of all their tokens.
Couple this with the paranoia around regulation and lack of protection for investors and stakeholders and it is not hard to see why the SEC is wary.
The only way that cryptocurrencies are going to be able to enter such a regulated market is through widespread regulation on a global scale. Until this happens, Bitcoin and any other cryptocurrency can say goodbye to any kind of regulated ETF.
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