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Why the SEC once again postponed Bitcoin ETFs

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The SEC again postponed its decision on three of the most prominent Bitcoin exchange-traded fund applications this Monday, including those proposed by Bitwise Asset Management, VanEck-SolidX, and Wilshire Phoenix

The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission decided to again postpone several ETF applications to further evaluate whether the derivatives meet the conditions necessary to protect investors. The rulings for the Bitwise ETF was pushed back to Oct. 13. Meanwhile, the decisions for VanEck-SolidX was postponed until Oct. 18, and the ruling on Wilshire’s Phoenix’s proposals was scheduled for Sept. 29.

Although the SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce stated earlier this year that the time is “right” for Bitcoin ETFs, the regulatory agency is concerned with market manipulation, market surveillance, and custodial services that could impact investors in the long haul. In fact, all of these issues must be resolved before a Bitcoin ETF can be approved in the U.S., according to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.

Clayton said in an interview with CNBC in June:

“The first is custody: custody is a long-standing requirement in our markets, and if you say you have something you really have it. The other thing that is important is […] we have sophisticated rules and surveillance to ensure that people are not manipulating the stock market, those cryptocurrency markets by large do not have that; And we’re working hard to see if we can get there, but I’m not just going to flip a switch and say this is just like stocks and bonds, because it’s not.”

Bitwise Asset Management tried to address these concerns by presenting a highly detailed market report to the SEC. Famously, the report claims 95 percent of all reported Bitcoin trading volume (among other coins) is faked. The firm concluded that the actual average daily Bitcoin trading volume is a paltry $273 million while CoinMarketCap reports $6 billion.

Matt Hougan, Bitwise’s global head of research, said:

“The reality is that the fact that there is fake volume in the crypto market is not news. We are just the first firm we know of to take a truly comprehensive approach to proving and quantifying it.”

As the SEC moves toward understanding and tackling the different regulations that must be implemented before Bitcoin ETFs are approved, the agency recently started looking for contractors that would run Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP nodes on its behalf in order to monitor risks and improve compliance.

The efforts put forth by the Commission, as well as work from institutions such as Bitwise, will bring more certainty about the state of the market. Ultimately, these factors will prove beneficial for the trustworthiness and legitimacy of these Bitcoin ETFs.

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