The SEC’s long-awaited green light for spot bitcoin ETPs is welcomed by the market, but the ambivalent decision raises more questions than it answers.
On January 10, 2024, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued, on an accelerated basis, an Omnibus Approval Order (the Order) for proposed NYSE Arca, Nasdaq, and Cboe BZX rule changes seeking to list and trade shares of 11 spot bitcoin trusts. Spot bitcoin trusts hold actual bitcoin, as opposed to bitcoin futures trusts, which hold derivatives tied to the price of bitcoin.
The approval of these rule change requests represents a green light for spot bitcoin-based exchange traded products (ETPs) to trade on national securities exchanges for the first time in bitcoin’s 15-year history, after a decade of attempts by market participants to obtain such approval.
In the Order, the SEC found the proposals to be “consistent with the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the Exchange Act) and rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange,” including the requirement that the exchanges’ rules be designed to “prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices.”