Investment management firm VanEck has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to launch a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, or ETF.
In the Dec. 30 S-1 application to the SEC, the investment management firm said it wanted to launch a VanEck Bitcoin Trust, using the MVIS CryptoCompare Bitcoin Benchmark Rate, which it said relies on the five most trustworthy cryptocurrency exchanges.
VanEck is clearly hoping that the departure of SEC chairman Jay Clayton will give its latest ETF application a chance.
Indeed, many in the industry described Clayton’s departure as good news for the cryptocurrency space.
Under his guidance, the SEC defined nearly all cryptocurrencies unregistered securities— Clayton closed out his term by suing Ripple over XRP sales—and refused to approve any of the many Bitcoin ETFs applications.
Clayton even suggested that Bitcoin ETFs were “making progress” in September 2019, but just 10 days later said he first had “to get to a place where we can be confident that trading is better regulated.” He added:
“People see the price of bitcoin trading on whatever report it is. If they think there’s the same rigor around that price discovery as there is on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange, and the protections, they are sorely mistaken.”
His agency subsequently refused all ETF applications.
Since late December, however, the SEC’s chairman has been the more crypto-friendly Commissioner Elad Roisman—who replaced Clayton after his early resignation—and some view it as a great opportunity for the cryptocurrency industry.
Still, Roisman is unlikely to do anything big—like approving a Bitcoin ETF—since he’s expected to leave his position after the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden, who will appoint his own chairman.
And with crypto-skeptic Janet Yellen the nominee for Treasury Secretary, the prospects of a bitcoin ETF getting the SEC’s nod seem to remain a long shot.
While her last comments on the first cryptocurrency date to the height of the 2017 Bitcoin bubble, they were far from positive. She told CNBC:
“It is not a stable source of value and it does not constitute legal tender. It is a highly speculative asset.”