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SEC’s Valerie A. Szczepanik: Crypto Spring “is Going to Come”

Valerie A. Szczepanik, Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is confident that very soon the crypto market will overcome the winter that began during 2018.

Speaking at the SXSW in Austin, Texas, Ms. Szczepanik commented that over time, the SEC is becoming clearer about the nature of cryptocurrencies and the type of treatment they should give to all the different kind of digital assets. This clarity in the criteria of the regulatory agencies will directly result in a boost to the crypto markets by increasing the safety and confidence of users:

I do think if we hope to smell the crypto spring in the air, it will take people walking with the regulators … But I do think the spring is going to come.

SEC is Working Hard (But Slowly)

Over the preceding months, administrative changes within the SEC show to be yielding positive results. The new commissioners have a more proactive stance and suggest to be aligned with the vision of other senior U.S. government officials who see cryptocurrencies as an opportunity to boost the country’s economic and commercial system.

However, she is aware that the work is gradual and that it will probably be difficult for the regulatory bodies to keep pace with the various technological initiatives that are flourishing today thanks to the blockchain hype. She explained that a slow but successful work is better than a fast but deficient one:

I think if you were to propose a new regime of regulations in a precipitous way without really studying it, you might end up steering the technology one way or another.

For the community of cryptocurrency users, the SEC plays a particularly relevant role in two scenarios that have sparked high expectations for users and investors:

  1. Determine whether or not a particular token or ICO is a security by nature. This has taken on particular relevance in well-known cases such as Ethereum and XRP.
  2. Determine if there are appropriate conditions to approve a crypto ETF. This is especially important for the Bitcoin community (BTC) as to date all attempts have been unsuccessful.

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Ethereum (ETH) Is Not a Security, SEC Chairman Hints on Official Response to Congressman

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton confirmed an existing analysis stating that Ethereum and other tokens of similar characteristics did not fall within the securities category under SEC standards.

Comm. Jay Clayton

Mr. Clayton issued that statement in an official response to US House Rep. Ted Budd, who requested a formal pronouncement from the commission asking to clarify certain positions regarding cryptocurrencies. One clarification he asked for was to corroborate whether the opinions expressed by William Hinman, SEC Director of the Division of Corporate Finance, were representational or personal in nature.

As previously reported by Ethereum World News, Mr. Hinman was invited to the All Markets Summit organized by Yahoo Finance on Thursday, 14 June 2018 as a member of the SEC, and during that event explained that because of its characteristics, ETH (the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network) was not considered a security:

“When we think about how ether today is operating, at least, we see a highly decentralized” network, not the type of centralized actor that characterizes securities offerings. In its current state, we don’t see value regulating it.”

However, despite the positive effect this opinion had on the markets, the non-formal nature of this event raised doubts in the community. This motivated Mr. Ted Budd and a group of congressmen to ask the SEC for greater clarity regarding cryptocurrencies, ICOs and the like:

Ethereum and Other Projects Don’t Pass The “Howey Test” 

Mr. Clayton’s official communication on behalf of the SEC points out that while each cryptocurrency, token or ICO must be evaluated individually, the general criteria allow the civil society to have an approximate understanding of whether a token is a security by applying the Howey Test.

“We also apply tests developed through case law, including the well-established “investment contract”* test articulated by the Supreme Court in SEC v. Howey and its progeny, including United Housing Found, Inc. v. Forman. As those cases explain, the “touchstone” of an investment contract “is the presence of an investment in a common venture premised on a reasonable expectation of profits to be derived from the entrepreneurial or managerial efforts of others.” The determination of whether a digital asset is an “investment contract” depends on the application of Howey and its progeny to the particular facts and circumstances of the digital asset transaction.”

Broadly, according to the Howey Test, a transaction is an investment contract if:

  1. It is an investment of money
  2. There is an expectation of profits from the investment
  3. The investment of money is in a common enterprise
  4. Profit comes from the efforts of a promoter or third party

Good News For The Ecosystem

For further clarity, Mr. Clayton specifically referred to the words of William Hinman, Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporate Finance. In the letter, Comm. Clayton confirmed that Ether (and tokens of similar characteristics) were not considered Securities:

 “Your letter also asks whether I agree with certain statements concerning digital tokens in Director Hinman’s June 2018 speech. I agree that the analysis of whether a digital asset is offered or sold as a security is not static and does not strictly inhere to the instrument. A digital asset may be offered and sold initially as a security because it meets the definition of an investment contract, but that designation may change over time if the digital asset later is offered and sold in such a way that it will no longer meet that definition. I agree with Director Hinman’s explanation of how a digital asset transaction may no longer represent an investment contract if, for example, purchasers would no longer reasonably expect a person or group to carry out the essential managerial or entrepreneurial efforts. Under those circumstances, the digital asset may not represent an investment contract under the Howey framework.”

Mr. Clayton’s statements are of special importance for traders of ETH and other similar tokens since they open the doors to American exchanges to operate freely without the uncertainty of being accused in the future of illegal operations with undeclared securities.

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Bitcoin (BTC) Price To Recover As Regulation Kicks In – Winklevoss Twins

The Winklevoss Twins say regulation will strengthen trust in the crypto industry and help return bitcoin prices to previous higher levels.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the owners of the Gemini exchange, flew into the South By SouthWest (SXSW) conference taking place in Austin Texas for their first attendance since 2016.

In their call for tighter regulation the twins cited the missing $194 million at QuadrigaCX as just the latest debacle to beset the industry, with the Mt.Gox implosion the event that set them on the road to setting up Gemini.

“There are a lot of carcasses on the road of crypto that we’ve seen and learned from. At the end of the day it’s really a trust problem. You need some kind of regulation to promote positive outcomes,” said Cameron in comments to Bloomberg.

Checks and balances

His brother Tyler also weighed in. “You want to have a couple of layers of checks and balances. We are here for the long haul.”

Not everyone will agree with those aims, preferring crypto stays as far away from government and regulators as possible.

Although there is no direct quotation, according to the Bloomberg report the twins see regulation as the key to bitcoin price recovery:

Better oversight and compliance will also help Bitcoin’s price recover to prior levels, he said, adding that it may be possible for Bitcoin’s value to increase in the coming years.

The twins inherited their wealth and famously took Mark Zuckerberg to court after accusing him of stealing the idea for Facebook from them.

Their Gemini is regulated and the twins were behind the setting up of a self-regulatory industry body in the US, the Virtual Commodities Association. Prominent exchanges Bitflyer US, Bittrex and Bitstamp are members alongside Gemini.

They are now pushing a global vision for Gemini as crypto seeks to make good on its technological potential to pull the unbanked on the world into the formal economy.

“With a crypto address and a smartphone, all of a sudden you are in the system. We are really just trying to extend the financial system, so you can send dollars anywhere in the world,” said Cameron.

He even went so far as to envision a future in which the main market for value transfer will be between machines, not humans.

Volatility, Europe and robots

“These devices will need to transact value, and they’ll probably talk through companies like Gemini.”

In a separate interview, this time with Yahoo Finance, the twins revealed that the Gemini exchange “is hoping to open in Europe soon”.

They were pushing their new mobile app, launched in December

Asked what they thought about volatility Tyler said: “It’s pretty normal for a new asset to be volatile at different points in time.”

“Overall we end up at a better floor than we started,” added Cameron.

Continuing, he noted “it might be volatile but has moved in the right direction”, pointing out that when they were last at SXSW bitcoin was priced at $400 and is now near $4,000.

The twins took every opportunity to push their products, as we’ve come to expect.

They said the theme in terms of business development for Gemini was  “going global and going mobile”

The Winklevosses shared that they have the UK, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, “and some other among other jurisdictions” in their sights for Gemini’s global roll out.

Asked what they thought of the competition from the likes of trading app Robinhood and its proven ability to attract millennials, the twins countered that Gemini is not an equities brokerage but  “a crypto-native company… a custodian, exchange and a platform”.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin Gives Deadline for better Crypto Regulations

The Russian government seems to be determined to refine its vision of the crypto-verse, encouraging the creation of better laws that not only promote its use and adoption but also attract investments oriented to develop these technologies.

Russian Kremlin. Courtesy Air France

Two days ago, Ethereum World News reported that the Russian Duma was studying the possibility of adopting a set of regulations to facilitate operations in crypto. This measure may be accompanied by a possible promotion of an oil-backed stablecoin running on the blockchain.

This proposal, presented by Igor Yusufov, Putin’s former Energy Minister, was designed to promote international trade without the frictions and manipulations inherent in traditional fiat transactions.

According to a report by the Russian outlet Rambler, Oleg Nikolaev, a member of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy commented that he hoped the Duma’s work would be ready by May.

Mr. Vladimir Putin Shares The “Crypto Friendly” Vision of Russian Legislators

The date set by the Russian Duma illustrates the speed with which the government is working on the matter, and is confirmed by a report published today on the Kremlin’s official website, in which Mr. Vladimir Putin, president of the country entrusted the Federal Assembly with the task of completing all the necessary steps for the drafting of the laws by July 1, 2019.

The writing of the report is clear in emphasizing Putin’s determination to end the legal “limbo” in which cryptocurrencies are right now. However, beyond this, it seeks the development of laws that promote a “development of the digital economy” while being appropriate for “attracting financial resources using digital technologies.”

“Federal laws aimed at the development of the digital economy, including determining the procedure for conducting civil law transactions in electronic form, as well as regulating digital financial assets and attracting financial resources using digital technologies.

Deadline – July 1, 2019

Responsible: Medvedev DA, Volodin VV;”

This order follows a similar one from 2018. in which Mr. Vladimir Putin ordered the government to work on this issue; however, after some unannounced changes in the legal drafts, the project was sent back to its first reading stage in December 2018.

The list of tasks does not expressly address the rumor of launching an oil-backed stablecoin or some kind of official digital currency, however, it also considers the promotion of measures aimed at stimulating investment in IoT, robotics and data management, with a significant emphasis on the development of a national strategy in the field of I.A.

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Cryptocurrency Regulations: Hong Kong Considers Stricter Laws for the Industry

The Hong Kong regulatory body is planning to tighten its regulatory grip on the cryptocurrency sector to combat money laundering and fraudulent activities.

Money Laundering Fears Prompt Stricter Cryptocurrency Regulations

The Hong Kong regulatory body, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) plans to introduce stricter regulatory policies for virtual currency exchanges and startups, according to a report by the Nikkei Asian Review.

Hong Kong which offers a relaxed atmosphere for virtual currency exchanges to thrive as against mainland China is considering stricter regulatory policies. This change comes as a result of concerns bordering on money laundering and fraudulent activities associated with initial coin offerings (ICO).

Some professionals in various fields commented on the new stance by Hong Kong’s regulatory body. Daisuke Yasaku from the Daiwa Institute of Research stated that the region’s proposed regulation on cryptocurrency is a good move. However, Yasaku warned that regulations came at a high price.

Yasaku also noted that the SFC’s new regulatory framework could subject virtual currency exchanges to stringent monitoring and inspections.

Timothy Loh, an attorney who owns a law firm in Hong Kong, also said:

The requirements of the SFC initiative may prove too burdensome for some operators. Some will decide not to join the new framework in order to maintain their current shares in the market.

The proposed SFC’s regulatory guidelines stipulate that investment funds which have more than ten percent assets in digital currency would need a license. Also, cryptocurrency companies would only deal with seasoned investors.

The new regulatory framework allows companies to issue ICO for tokens that have lasted at least one year.

Also, the SFC is set to introduce a voluntary scheme where cryptocurrency exchanges would test digital assets in a regulatory sandbox. This “testing” would determine if virtual currency exchanges would receive a license or not.

Increasing Cryptocurrency Regulations in Asia

The Asian continent has strived to put in place regulatory frameworks guiding cryptocurrency compared to its Western counterpart. The continent is home to the biggest hacks in virtual currency history. These massive attacks on local cryptocurrency exchanges have led most Asian countries to introduce regulatory rules that ensure security and protect investors.

Following the hacks on Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges like Coincheck, Japan introduced stricter measures for exchanges willing to operate in the country. The FSA also granted self-regulatory status to the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA).

South Korea, on the other hand, banned Initial Coin Offerings and anonymous cryptocurrency trading in the country. However, South Korea announced it was going to give its official stance on ICO in November 2018. Recently, seven digital currency exchange met in South Korea to create a crypto ecosystem in the country.

The Thailand SEC which previously approved the operation of seven cryptocurrency exchanges recently warned investors about some unregulated ICOs.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Switzerland Working on Major Changes to Develop Pro-Crypto and Blockchain Legal Framework

The Swiss government has recently announced that it would take a new direction regarding its position on the use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, working out a strategy to create an appropriate legal framework to allow such technologies to flourish.

In an official report released this Friday, the government recognized the importance of blockchain technologies as critical tools to promote the development of the country’s economy:

“(Blockchain Technologies are) among the remarkable and potentially promising developments in digitalisation. It is predicted that these developments have considerable potential for innovation and enhanced efficiency, both in the financial sector and in other areas of the economy.

Switzerland: Using Crypto and Blockchain Technologies to Boost Its Economy

The strategy seeks to incorporate the use of tokens in various sectors of the country’s politics and economy. One of the most significant proposals tries to clear away regulatory hurdles for trading securities (such as shares, bonds or real estate) on blockchain platforms.

Switzerland is one of the most important blockchain hubs in Europe. Not only have a significant number of startups with several hundred million dollars in investments been established, but the Swiss Central Bank itself has shown interest in the use of cryptocurrencies to promote the national economy.

The measures announced by the Swiss government attracted a positive reaction from investors and users. One example is Mattia Rattaggi, member of the Crypto Valley Association, who shared his impressions via email :

We feel that this approach best represents the principle of technological neutrality and is in line with the position taken by the CVA in the consultation process … Crucially, this approach ensures maximum consistency within the current legal framework while keeping it principle-based and flexible, while allowing changes to be adopted on a ‘need-to-regulate’ basis.

What is Switzerland Trying to Do?

According to Swissinfo, the innovations proposed by the Swiss government are quite numerous and will subsequently require hard work on the part of Swiss legislators to be shaped up as a holistic policy and not merely isolated changes:

  • Amend company bankruptcy laws to recognise data as an asset. This would allow courts to handle purely digital assets, and make sure they go to the right creditor, when sorting out insolvent firms.
  • Amend the Banking Act along the same lines as above in the case of a financial institution going bankrupt.
  • Amend the scope of the Anti-Money Laundering Act to cover decentralised exchanges with the power to dispose of third-party assets.
  • Create a “new authorisation category” for blockchain securities traders and exchanges to give FINMA discretion to apply a lighter touch when assessing the activities of such entities. Amend the Financial Market Infrastructure law and the Financial Institutions Act to “create more flexibility” for blockchain/DLT applications.
  • The finance ministry is already looking into a Collective Investment Schemes Act amendment to include a new category of funds (limited qualified investment funds L-QIFs) so that “new innovative products could be placed on the market more quickly and cost-effectively in the future”.
  • No immediate changes to financial laws for the insurance industry are immediately foreseen as blockhain/DLT is in its “infancy” in this sector.
  • The report also sees no reason to change any legislation with regards to cryptocurrencies.

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Pro-Bitcoin Mick Mulvaney Joins Donald Trump’s Cabinet as Acting Chief of Staff

President Trump seems to be highly interested in the potential of blockchain technologies and the benefits of using cryptocurrencies for the country’s economy. Yesterday, he addressed the nation via Twitter announcing the appointment of Mick Mulvaney as the White House’s new acting Chief of Staff.

Mulvaney joins the list of politicians with pro-Bitcoin orientations to whom Mr. Trump has given important political responsibilities within his cabinet.

“I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration,” President Trump tweeted.

Mulvaney: a Pro-Bitcoin Guy With Temporary but Strategic Responsibilities

Mulvaney’s role as John Kelly’s replacement refreshes a bit the way of doing politics inside the White House. Kelly’s conservative vision contrasts somewhat with Mulvaney, who on several occasions has expressed his enthusiasm for the use of Bitcoin and other Blockchain technologies.

According to CNN, Mr. Mulvaney will have two parallel positions: On the one hand, he will have his regular job as director of the Office of Management and Budget while assuming these new responsibilities in an “acting role.”

Trump disguised the temporary nature of these functions, commenting that his services are official until the end of the year although he did not hide his enthusiasm for working in conjunction with him.

IS Trump Playing a Slow Game of Crypto-Chess?

Previously, Trump included Elad Roisman and Hester Peirce as SEC members in a decision that clearly aimed to modify some positions within the SEC. Both are known supporters of the use of cryptocurrencies and have defended the potential of blockchain technologies as mechanisms to boost the national economy.

From left to right: Hester Peirce, Elad Roisman and Mick Mulvaney

Like Roisman and Peirce, Mulvaney played an essential role in the promotion of blockchain technologies by creating the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, an organization dedicated to promoting the study of blockchain technologies within the Congress with the aim of developing a series of legal instruments adapted to this area.

In a speech motivating other members of Congress to join the caucus, Mulvaney had already shown his passion for blockchain technologies:

“Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the financial services industry, the U.S. economy, and the delivery of government services,”

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7 Major Exchanges Join Forces to Enhance the Cryto Ecosystem in South Korea

South Korea took another giant step forward in regulating cryptocurrencies as seven major exchanges have joined forces to enhance the cryptocurrency ecosystem in the country. According to local media, representatives of the seven major exchanges met at a parliamentary policy debate on cryptocurrencies that was held this past Monday. The representatives signed an ‘Agreement for the creation of a sound cryptocurrency ecosystem’.

The agreement included joint measures such as information sharing, real-time monitoring of abnormal transactions in a bid to prevent cyber crime as well as protect investors. The seven cryptocurrency exchanges that agreed to the new measures are as follows.

  1. Upbit
  2. Bithumb
  3. Korbit
  4. Coinone
  5. Gopax
  6. Coinplug (Cpdax)
  7. Hanbitco

The exchanges are also to establish a consultation system that will prevent money laundering, enhance KYC procedures and introduce some restrictions for transactions belonging to unverified users.

One industry official is quoted as calling it a close cooperation system:

With this agreement, exchanges can establish a close cooperation system and improve their image for investors, but in fact, there is no special penalty for failing to comply.

Lee Seok-Woo, president of Dunamu Inc., which handles all operations relating to the Upbit exchange, had stated a while back, that AML/KYC (anti-money laundering / know-your-customer) procedures were mandatory for every exchange that wished to operate in the country.

If you [crypto exchange] cannot meet the standard after a six-month or one-year grace period, you should close it.

South Korea On Track To Regulate Cryptocurrencies and ICOs

Back in June this year, regulatory officials from South Korea had stated that crypto exchanges would soon be regulated in the same way they regulate banks. The regulation shall be carried out by the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KFIU) in collaboration with other local financial regulators. With respect to ICOs, the country had promised to issue regulatory direction as soon as legislation was ready.

Kwon Dae-young, Head of the Financial Innovation Bureau at the Financial Services Commission (FSC), further explained the steps the country is taking towards regulating the ICO and cryptocurrency industry.

We are trying to institutionalize cryptocurrency exchanges, but before we do, we have to answer the question of how to deal with the damage and tears of many virtual currency investors.

We must see if any of the projects that can help the people in their daily lives have been presented. Trust and authenticity are important.

What are your thoughts on the seven cryptocurrency exchanges joining forces to better enhance the cryptocurrency trading ecosystem in South Korea? Please let us know in the comment section below. 

[Image courtesy of Bitcoinist.com]

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Why A Bitcoin (BTC) ETF Might Be Approved in February 2019

A few hours ago, the cryptocurrency and investor communities were notified of the delay by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to rule on the pending VanEck Bitcoin ETF until February 27th. Some have even linked the announcement to the current blood bath in the crypto markets that has the total crypto market capitalization at $108.68 Million with BTC trading at $3,433 ahead of a shakey weekend. Ethereum (ETH) has dropped under $90 and is trading at $87.

The only coin in the top 100 doing well is Bitcoin SV (BSV) that is up 19% in the last 24 hours. BSV has also managed to flippen Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Why The VanEck ETF is Significant 

The VanEck Bitcoin ETF has been viewed by many as the much needed catalyst that could ignite the next cryptocurrency Bull run. An ETF would be an indirect stamp of approval by the SEC that classifies BTC is a viable investment asset. It will set the stage for other ETFs backed by other prominent digital assets such as ETH or a combination of digital assets.

Why an ETF Might Be Approved in February

Firstly, we saw that MV Index Solutions – based in Frankfurt Germany and linked to VanEck – launched the MVIS Bitcoin US OTC Spot Index (MVBTCO). This index is based on price feeds from OTC (Over The Counter) digital asset trading operations in the US carried out by the firms of Circle Trade, Cumberland and Genesis Trading.

By opening up their books, markets will better understand the price movements of BTC and other major cryptocurrencies. The additional transparency might aid in the SEC approving the ETF next year.

Secondly, Bakkt would have launched its physically settled Bitcoin Futures contracts by the end of January. This will increase the confidence in Bitcoin across the investor communities that comprise of hedge funds, high net individuals and even the regular investor who had stood on the side-lines waiting for some ‘sanity’ to present itself in the crypto-verse.

Nasdaq is also meant to launch their Bitcoin Futures products in the first quarter of 2019. Both Nasdaq and Bakkt probably have the go ahead from the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) thus adding validity to Bitcoin.

Thirdly, the New Year brings with it the possibility of the Commissioners at the SEC having a change of heart about the pending ETF. Perhaps the Holiday Season will recharge them to the point where they see the validity of the application by VanEck. We have to remember that 2018 has been a long year and we all need some time to recharge.

A Word Of Caution from Commissioner Hester Peirce

However, Commissioner Hester Peirce – also known as crypto mom – has cautioned crypto ethusiasts and investors not to wait on the ruling of the SEC as it might take a long time for the regulatory body to approve it. She explained that the SEC has 5 commissioners and a majority ruling is needed for an ETF to pass.

She said:

Don’t hold your breath. I do caution people to not live or die on when a crypto or bitcoin ETF gets approved. You all know that I am working on trying to convince my colleagues to have a bit more of an open mind when it comes to [crypto]. I am not as charming as some other people

In conclusion, the SEC announced that they would be pushing the ETF decision to February 2019. We have explored three reasons why the odds might be in favor of an approval next year. We have looked at the MVIS Bitcoin US OTC Spot Index; both Bakkt and Nasdaq offering futures contracts; and we have also looked at the possibility of the Commissioners having a change of heart with the new year. However, we were reminded by Commissioner Peirce not to depend too much on the decision.

What are you thoughts on the new date of February 27th as the new deadline fro an ETF decision? Do you think it will be approved? Please let us know in the comment section below. 

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any additional opinion herein is purely the author’s and does not represent the opinion of Ethereum World News or any of its other writers. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available. Thank you.

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Why A Bitcoin (BTC) ETF Might Be Approved in February 2019

A few hours ago, the cryptocurrency and investor communities were notified of the delay by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to rule on the pending VanEck Bitcoin ETF until February 27th. Some have even linked the announcement to the current blood bath in the crypto markets that has the total crypto market capitalization at $108.68 Million with BTC trading at $3,433 ahead of a shakey weekend. Ethereum (ETH) has dropped under $90 and is trading at $87.

The only coin in the top 100 doing well is Bitcoin SV (BSV) that is up 19% in the last 24 hours. BSV has also managed to flippen Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Why The VanEck ETF is Significant 

The VanEck Bitcoin ETF has been viewed by many as the much needed catalyst that could ignite the next cryptocurrency Bull run. An ETF would be an indirect stamp of approval by the SEC that classifies BTC as a viable investment asset. It will set the stage for other ETFs backed by other prominent digital assets such as ETH or a combination of digital assets.

Why an ETF Might Be Approved in February

Firstly, we saw that MV Index Solutions – based in Frankfurt Germany and linked to VanEck – launched the MVIS Bitcoin US OTC Spot Index (MVBTCO). This index is based on price feeds from OTC (Over The Counter) digital asset trading operations in the US carried out by the firms of Circle Trade, Cumberland and Genesis Trading.

By opening up their books, markets will better understand the price movements of BTC and other major cryptocurrencies. The additional transparency might aid in the SEC approving the ETF next year.

Secondly, Bakkt would have launched its physically settled Bitcoin Futures contracts by the end of January. This will increase the confidence in Bitcoin across the investor communities that comprise of hedge funds, high net individuals and even the regular investor who had stood on the side-lines waiting for some ‘sanity’ to present itself in the crypto-verse.

Nasdaq is also meant to launch their Bitcoin Futures products in the first quarter of 2019. Both Nasdaq and Bakkt probably have the go ahead from the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) thus adding validity to Bitcoin.

Thirdly, the New Year brings with it the possibility of the Commissioners at the SEC having a change of heart about the pending ETF. Perhaps the Holiday Season will recharge them to the point where they see the validity of the application by VanEck. We have to remember that 2018 has been a long year and we all need some time to recharge.

A Word Of Caution from Commissioner Hester Peirce

However, Commissioner Hester Peirce – also known as crypto mom – has cautioned crypto ethusiasts and investors not to wait on the ruling of the SEC as it might take a long time for the regulatory body to approve it. She explained that the SEC has 5 commissioners and a majority ruling is needed for an ETF to pass.

She said:

Don’t hold your breath. I do caution people to not live or die on when a crypto or bitcoin ETF gets approved. You all know that I am working on trying to convince my colleagues to have a bit more of an open mind when it comes to [crypto]. I am not as charming as some other people

In conclusion, the SEC announced that they would be pushing the ETF decision to February 2019. We have explored three reasons why the odds might be in favor of an approval next year. We have looked at the MVIS Bitcoin US OTC Spot Index; both Bakkt and Nasdaq offering futures contracts; and we have also looked at the possibility of the Commissioners having a change of heart with the new year. However, we were reminded by Commissioner Peirce not to depend too much on the decision.

What are you thoughts on the new date of February 27th as the new deadline fro an ETF decision? Do you think it will be approved? Please let us know in the comment section below. 

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any additional opinion herein is purely the author’s and does not represent the opinion of Ethereum World News or any of its other writers. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available. Thank you.

The post Why A Bitcoin (BTC) ETF Might Be Approved in February 2019 appeared first on Ethereum World News.