SEC Rejects Spot Bitcoin ETF Application From Ark 21Shares

The move continues a recent string of denials by the SEC of applications for spot bitcoin ETFs.

AccessTimeIconApr 1, 2022 at 1:38 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 3:59 p.m. UTC
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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has rejected an application for a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) from Ark 21Shares, according to a filing, citing a lack of investor protections. Ark is run by star investor Cathie Wood.

The application was filed on behalf of the Cboe BZX Exchange to change the rules and allow for the listing of the Ark 21Shares offering.

“The Commission concludes that BZX has not met its burden under the Exchange Act and the Commission’s Rules of Practice to demonstrate that its proposal is consistent with the requirements of Exchange Act Section 6(b)(5), and in particular, the requirement that the rules of a national securities exchange be ‘designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices’ and ‘to protect investors and the public interest,’” the SEC wrote in its decision.

Ark Investment Management and investment-product firm 21Shares had teamed up to launch the product last July. The initial application from Ark 21Shares was delayed multiple times, the last time in January.

The move comes after multiple rejections and delays for spot bitcoin ETFs, with SEC chair Gary Gensler stating a clear preference for bitcoin (BTC) ETF's that trade bitcoin futures. In early March, the SEC delayed decisions on applications for spot bitcoin ETFs from both WisdomTree and One River Asset Management. Prior to that, the commission rejected NYDIG and Global X’s spot bitcoin ETF proposals, as well as applications from Fidelity, First Trust, Kryptoin and VanEck.

Analysts from Bloomberg Intelligence said in March that spot bitcoin ETFs could start to garner some approvals by mid-2023 given a proposed SEC rule change that redefines exchanges.


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Michael Bellusci is CoinDesk's crypto reporter focused on public companies and digital asset firms.

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