The SEC does not appear to have the appetite for more exotic Bitcoin futures products.
Reports are emerging that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has rejected one, or possibly two, recent Bitcoin exchange-traded fund applications signaling that the regulator is not quite ready for more exotic futures products just yet.
Just a day or so after Valkyrie filed for a leveraged Bitcoin futures ETF and Direxion applied for an inverse fund for bears, the SEC appears to have vetoed them both.
On Oct. 28, Bloomberg’s senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas referred to a Dow Jones alert indicating the Valkyrie leveraged fund had been shelved by the SEC. He added that the move was likely also to apply to the inverse fund application.
Looks like the SEC not having it w the levered (and likely inverse) Bitcoin futures ETFs. Can’t hurt to try tho. Had they gone through likely billion dollar trading vehicles in a few yrs. via Dow Jones pic.twitter.com/MspMRf3hL9
— Eric Balchunas (@EricBalchunas) October 27, 2021
On Oct. 26, ETF issuer Direxion filed for a Bitcoin Strategy Bear ETF that would enable speculators to buy futures that short the price of BTC. On the same day, Valkyrie filed for a leveraged BTC futures ETF that would have offered 1.25x exposure to the asset.
The Direxion product invested purely in futures, however, the Valkyrie one would have held futures, swaps, options, and forwards. Another Dow Jones alert reported the SEC only seems interested in direct futures products at the moment, funds that buy contracts from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
The regulator does not seem keen to approve any products that invest in the asset itself or anything other than CME futures contracts at this stage. Balchunas confirmed:
“Would be interesting (and poss) if they let the Inverse one go through. That one was limited to futures. Valkyrie’s was a bit of a departure from that language.”
Related: Crypto breaks Wall Street’s ETF barrier: A watershed moment or stopgap?
ETF Store President, Nate Geraci, reported that two more ETFs had been applied for on Oct. 27 from AXS Investments. The SEC filings are for a regular Bitcoin Strategy ETF similar to the two already approved, and another shorting or inverse fund.
Another Dow Jones report states that Grayscale is confident that the SEC will be ready to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF by July 2022.
On Oct. 19, Grayscale filed an application with the SEC to convert its popular Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a spot fund that is backed by the asset itself as opposed to futures contracts.
Geraci, commented on the current lack of regulation over spot crypto markets, “So crypto markets/exchanges will be regulated by then? Seems ambitious.”
In related news, VanEck is making final preparations for the launch of its Bitcoin Strategy ETF which will trade under the ticker XBTF. On Wednesday, Balchunas said there was a “good chance” it could start trading on Friday, Oct. 29, but possibly Thursday.