Bitcoin ETF Plans Hit Snag

September 29, 2017

VanEck has pulled the plug on its proposed bitcoin ETF for now, at the request of regulators.

In a filing submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission this week, the firm said SEC staff asked VanEck to wait until bitcoin futures are actually a reality.

The ETF first detailed in a filing submitted in August—the VanEck Vectors Bitcoin Strategy ETF—would invest in bitcoin futures, which are not yet available for investment.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange, which owns ETF.com, is planning to launch cash-settled bitcoin futures in the coming months, but no official launch date has yet been announced. The futures, which would be supported by market data from the Gemini digital asset exchange, could come to market as soon as Q4 or early 2018, according to the CBOE.

Bitcoin options have already been approved by the CFTC, but they too have yet to launch. LedgerX is expected to bring them to market soon.

Currently, there are no bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. Earlier this year, the SEC denied various requests for bitcoin ETFs to launch, such as the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust (COIN).

VanEck isn’t the only issuer to have put in registration futures-based bitcoin ETFs this year. Rex ETFs has also filed for a long/short pair of futures-based bitcoin ETFs, the REX Bitcoin Strategy ETF and REX Short Bitcoin Strategy ETF, which will both be actively managed.

ProShares, too, put into registration this week a pair of bitcoin ETFs based on bitcoin futures, one the long ProShares Bitcoin ETF and the inverse version, the ProShares Short Bitcoin ETF.

Both Rex and ProShares will most likely follow VanEck’s lead and withdraw their filings, as they wait for the futures contracts to launch. 

Contact Cinthia Murphy at [email protected]

 

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