SEC Takes Its Times With Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust Decision

News and Analysis

The US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) wants more time to examine Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) established by the Winklevoss brothers, owners of the Gemini exchange.

According to the filing released on Wednesday, October 12, the SEC needs more time to decide upon whether to approve or refuse to introduce amendments to the rule change on the of BATS Global Exchange.

Initially, the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust has been attempting to list on Nasdaq, but back in June 2016, after three years of waiting for regulatory approval its founders, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, have changed tack and are now seeking to list the product on the BATS Global Exchange.

The Winklevoss brothers have also increased the size of the offering, from $20m to $65m, a move that would boost the maximum price of shares offered to retail investors.

The exchange’s Rule 14.11(e)(4) regarding commodity-based trust shares needs to be amended before a cryptocurrency-based ETF may list.

That initial period expired in August, which the SEC apparently expanded to this week. If there are further submissions, or the regulator cannot decide whether to approve the rule change or not, the application could be further delayed.

For now, the SEC says it wants feedback on the overall stability of bitcoin, the manner in which the trust will value the holdings, and any potential conflicts of interest between the custodian and bitcoin exchange Gemini.

“The Commission requests that interested persons provide written submissions of their views, data, and arguments with respect to the issues identified above, as well as any other concerns they may have with the proposal,” SEC deputy secretary Robert Erret wrote.

If the SEC approves the request, the Trust would be the first bitcoin investment vehicle to be approved by the US federal regulatory body.

The Winklevosses have repeatedly declared they are seeking large and institutional investors for their ETF. Approval would go some way toward making Bitcoin mainstream, and some experts expect a price leap if this eventually happens.

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