VanEck's Bitcoin Futures ETF Effort Dealt Blow By SEC

VanEck's proposed bitcoin futures ETF is in doubt following a call with SEC officials earlier this month, according to a new letter.

Sep 29, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:59 a.m. UTC

An effort to launch a bitcoin futures ETF saw a setback today after SEC officials pushed back against the proposal, public records show.

Last month, CoinDesk reported that New York-based money manager VanEck had filed to create the VanEck Vectors Bitcoin Strategy ETF, which would be used to invest in "U.S. exchange-traded bitcoin-linked derivative instruments...and pooled investment vehicles and exchange-traded products that provide exposure to bitcoin." It was one of a growing number of efforts to create financial products around the cryptocurrency that offer indirect exposure to investors.

Yet a new letter addressed to the SEC's Division of Investment Management, VanEck assistant general counsel Matthew Babinsky indicates that officials at the agency won't consider reviewing the firm's request because of the nascent state of the derivatives market for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

As a result, VanEck is seeking to pull back (at least for now) the filings it made in August.

The letter explains:

"The Trust notes that on a call with the Staff on September 20, 2017, the Staff expressed the view that it is the Commission’s policy to not review a registration statement for a fund where the underlying instruments in which the fund intends to primarily invest are not yet available. The Staff requested that the Trust withdraw the Amendment until such time as the underlying instruments in which the Fund intends to primarily invest (i.e., bitcoin futures contracts) become available for investment."

Babinsky added in the letter that, to date, "no securities have been sold in connection with the filing."

Image via Shutterstock

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