Bitcoin ETFs: SEC Postpones Decision on Direxion’s Proposals Until September

Avi Rosten

The SEC (the US Securities and Exchange Commission) has said today that it has deferred its decision on approval for five bitcoin ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) until September.

The proposals, filed by Boston-based ETF provider Direxion Investments on January 4th comprise five applications: one for an ETF directly linked to BTC price, and four related to its price variation.

The SEC's report in the Federal Register – its Daily Journal – explains that the Commission:

finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to issue an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider this proposed rule change. Accordingly, the Commission, ... designates September 21, 2018, as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove the proposed rule change.

Importantly the SEC has not made any comment with respect to the highly-anticipated decision regarding ETF proposals from VanEck and SolidX – which have generated enormous expectation in the crypto-community, as well as over 250 comments on the proposal on the SEC website. The Direxion application in contrast, at the time of writing had only two comments.

With many believing this market excitement surrounding ETFs to be behind much of the bullish activity that prompted bitcoin’s substantial rise in price in the last week and today’s push past $8,000, prominent figures believe that the time is ripe for serious institutional investment into cryptocurrency.

Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital Capital Management, in this vein recently remarked that he believes a “herd of institutional investors” is coming towards the cryptocurrency ecosystem” adding that they are “slowly coming to the realization that blockchain will be internet or Web 3.0.”

 

Featured Image Credit: "Securities and Exchange Commission" by "Scott S" via Flickr; licensed under "CC BY 2.0"

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Chinese Court Rules Bitcoin Is Legally Protected Virtual Property

The Hangzhou Internet Court, in China, has recently ruled bitcoin is seen as virtual property in the country, and as such is legally protected.

The ruling came in a case in which the plaintiff, Mr. Wu, sued the Shanghai Technology Company, which allegedly operated the FXBTC cryptocurrency exchange on Taobao, a leading Chinese online marketplace, and sold bitcoin back in 2013.

Wu reportedly bought 2.675 BTC for 20,000 yuan, about $2,900, back in 2013 from the exchange. In 2017, during the cryptocurrency market’s bull run that saw bitcoin hit a near $20,000 all-time high, the buyer wanted to access the funds, but found out FXBTC closed and could no longer get to the BTC.

According to Beijing News, the plaintiff claims the Shanghai Technology Company didn’t warn it was closing the platform nor gave him a chance to access the funds afterwards. The store likely shut down as between 2013 and 2017, the Chinese government made it illegal to trade cryptocurrencies, which in turn forced Taobao to stop vendors from selling cryptos on its platform.

While the plaintiff failed to prove Shanghai Tech was the vendor that sold him the bitcoin and lost the case, the court did determine bitcoin is legally protected virtual property.

According to Dovey Wan, this was seen as a bullish signal in China and chatter on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging platform similar to Twitter, seemed to point to this as the reason behind bitcoin’s recent price surge.

According to CryptoCompare data, BTC rose 4.8% in the last 24-hour period, and is currently trading at $10,300. Earlier today, bitcoin jumped from a $9,400 low to as much as $10,500 before facing a small correction.

Notably, this isn’t the first time a Chinese court defends bitcoin. As CryptoGlobe covered late last year, an arbitration court ruled bitcoin should be protected as property by law, and clarified at the time Chinese law doesn’t forbid owning or transferring bitcoin. Earlier this year, a prominent Chinese lawyer argued owning and occasionally trading bitcoin is legal in the country.

On Twitter, Wan clarified that while holding bitcoin as private property is legal, trading the cryptocurrency “in a systematic way” isn’t.