Cboe Closes Acquisition Of Crypto Exchange ErisX

Bringing the crypto exchange under a regulated entity could change the SEC’s spot bitcoin ETF calculus.

Reviewed by: Dan Mika
Edited by: Dan Mika

Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (CBOE) has completed the acquisition of the cryptocurrency exchange ErisX, giving it a potential leg up in the ongoing race to get regulatory approval to launch the first spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the U.S. 

The exchange announced the deal late Monday afternoon, saying it will continue to use ErisX as a spot, clearing and derivative platform, along with developing new data products tracking digital assets. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Bringing ErisX under Cboe’s ownership could meet regulators’ demands that ETF exchanges have a surveillance-sharing agreement with a regulated reference market in the event investigations of price manipulation become necessary.  

The tie-up also fits with broader efforts from U.S. regulators under the Biden administration to expand investor protections across markets, particularly in cryptomarkets that are increasingly making themselves easier to access by retail investors. 

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has said as much, telling a gathering of securities lawyers in April that his staff is looking at ways to regulate crypto exchanges, such as how the body regulates traditional bourses. 

But the acquisition doesn’t immediately provide prospective bitcoin ETF issuers with Cboe a clear runway to approval, as most spot funds as filed have argued that using the average spot price from several of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges by volume would avoid price manipulation. 

ErisX’s daily volume isn’t tracked by ETF.com crypto-data provider CoinMarketCap. 

Cboe first announced the acquisition last October for an undisclosed figure. It said Monday that the acquisition price is not financially material. 

Representatives from Cboe were not immediately available for comment Monday. 

Contact Dan Mika at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter 

Dan Mika is a reporter for etf.com. He has previously covered business for the Ames Tribune and Cedar Rapids Gazette in Iowa, and BizWest Media in Fort Collins, Colorado. Dan holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Truman State University.