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SEC approves first listed exchange traded funds to track bitcoin

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2024 | Securities and Compliance

The Securities and Exchange Commission voted last week to approve nearly a dozen new bitcoin exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, according to the New York Times.

The vote, seen as a milestone for the crypto industry, will allow U.S. ETFs that hold bitcoin to be sold to the public for the first time.  It provides everyday investors with an asset that will closely track the price of bitcoin.

The SEC approved 11 applications from asset managers, including from BlackRock, Fidelity, VanEck, and Ark Investments/21Shares, and the funds began trading in U.S. markets last Thursday.

The SEC noted that while it approved the listing and trading of certain spot bitcoin ETF shares, it did not approve or endorse bitcoin.

“These products will be listed and traded on registered national securities exchanges,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “Such regulated exchanges are required to have rules designed to prevent fraud and manipulation, and we will monitor them closely to ensure that they are enforcing those rules. Furthermore, the Commission will fully investigate any fraud or manipulation in the securities markets, including schemes that use social media platforms.”

The new ETFs will be listed on Nasdaq, the New York Stock Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange, which are all highly regulated exchanges.

Investors can buy and sell bitcoin ETFs in the same way they trade stocks, and will be able to gain profits from the cryptocurrency without the risks of directly owning it.

“Today is a monumental day in the history of digital assets,” Samir Kerbage, chief investment officer at  bitcoin ETF issuer Hashdex told the Wall Street Journal.

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