[Breaking] Bitcoin ETF Hopefuls CBOE, VanEck and SolidX Met with SEC Commissioner Elad Roisman


SEC Commissioner Elad Roisman Meets Representatives From CBOE, VanEC, SolidX; ETF Approval Likely

On October 9, 2018, Commissioner Roisman and his counsels Dean Conway, Matthew Estabrook, and Christina Thomas met with the following representatives of SolidX, VanEck, and CBOE. The participants considered an application to list an exchange-traded fund that is currently pending with the Commission.

Distinctly, Roisman is the first commissioner to publicly meet with representatives of the three groups. The previous presentation was made to SEC staff, specifically the Office of Market Supervision and Division of Trading and Markets.

In the meeting with Commissioner, Roisman arguments were made that the Bitcoin ETF should be approved as previous issues identified by the SEC are now resolved.

  • There now exists a significant regulated derivatives market for bitcoin.
  • Relevant markets – Cboe, bitcoin futures, OTC desks – are regulated.
  • Concerns around price manipulation have been mitigated, consistent with approval of prior commodity-based ETPs.
  • Cboe’s rules are designed to surveil for potential manipulation of Trust shares.
  • Promotes investor protection.

Just last month, Republican Elad Roisman was confirmed for a seat on the SEC Commission. Prior to his appointment, the commission had only 4 of the possible 5 seats filled. The good news for the crypto community is that Roisman is rumored to be friendly to crypto and free markets, similar to Commissioner Hester Pierce. Given Pierce was the only “yes” vote, approval would still require defectors.

What’s interesting is that a current “no” vote in Commissioner Kara Stein will disappear in December as her term expiration requires her to leave the Commission. Democrat Allison Lee is rumored to be her replacement, but the gap between Stein’s departure and Lee’s appointment could be a potential opening for the ETF approval.

Sources at the CBOE have been consistent in believing that the Van Eck product has been and is the most likely candidate to make it to the finish line. Earlier they had said the following:

“The VanEck ETF is perfectly approvable if you have been reading the tea leaves in the rejection language at the SEC connected to previous submissions. It checks every box, as I’ve said before, and I’d be shocked, SHOCKED, if it didn’t win approval. Now that approval will probably come with a bunch of dissenting language amongst the respective approving members – but it will still get approved. Not backing down in any way, in fact, I’d double down on it at the moment.”

A Bitcoin ETF should closely follow the Bakkt launch, the continued maturity of Bitcoin futures markets, Fidelity’s crypto initiative and Nasdaq’s push into the crypto ecosystem. If nothing too drastic happens we can expect a Bitcoin ETF approval in the first quarter of 2019.

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