SEC Rejects WisdomTree’s Spot Bitcoin ETF Application

The decision comes seven months after the agency said it would start evaluating the asset manager’s application.

AccessTimeIconDec 2, 2021 at 7:36 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:41 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has denied WisdomTree’s application for a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), the agency said in a letter on Wednesday.

  • Approval would have allowed retail and institutional investors to invest in a regulated financial product incorporating the world’s oldest cryptocurrency, without requiring them to invest in the crypto directly.
  • The decision comes seven months after the regulator said it would start evaluating the WisdomTree Bitcoin Trust, which the ETF giant filed with the Cboe BZX exchange in March. The agency delayed its decision in June and again in July, as well as its consideration of other bitcoin spot ETFs.
  • “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 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 agency wrote.
  • The SEC’s decision was not unexpected as SEC Chair Gary Gensler has indicated multiple times in the past a preference for a bitcoin futures ETF over an ETF that holds bitcoin directly. Last month, the SEC rejected investment firm VanEck’s proposal for a spot bitcoin ETF.
  • Two bitcoin futures ETFs, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) and the Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BTF), began trading in the U.S. in October, leading to a significant rally in the price of bitcoin. VanEck’s bitcoin futures ETF began trading in mid-November.
  • At the time of publication, bitcoin was trading down 1%.

UPDATE (Dec. 2 17:49): Corrects when VanEck’s bitcoin futures ETF began trading.

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.

James Rubin

James Rubin was CoinDesk's U.S. news editor based on the West Coast.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.