SEC Extends Kryptoin’s Bitcoin ETF Application By 45 Days

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended the review period for Kryptoin’s Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) application.

The regulator disclosed the update in a notice dated June 9. The SEC said its decision would be delayed for another 45 days, ending July 27, 2021.

SEC Delays Another ETF Application

The delay of the Delaware-based investment advisory firm’s application makes it the latest extension the SEC has announced in the last few weeks.

Last month, the SEC postponed WisdomTree’s Bitcoin ETF application review by 45 days. VanEck’s bid got a similar treatment in April.

According to the agency’s notice, Kryptoin’s application was delayed to allow it to have adequate time to consider the proposed rule change. The notice said,

“The Commission finds that it is appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the comments received.”

Kryptoin first applied for a Bitcoin ETF in 2019, and after a year and a half of inactivity, the firm filed for an amendment in April this year.

In its first filing, Kryptoin chose to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange but later changed it to Cboe BZX in its amended filing. Both WisdomTree and VanEck also named Cboe as their planned listing exchange.

The Kryptoin ETF provides exposure to Bitcoin using the CF Bitcoin US Settlement Price as its pricing mechanism.

Founded in 2016, Kryptoin Investment Advisors is a financial services company run by Jason Toussaint.

Will The SEC Approve A Crypto ETF This Year?

The US is yet to allow a Bitcoin-based ETF, with the SEC pointing to the Bitcoin market’s vulnerability to manipulation, among other concerns, as its rationale for rejecting all such applications.

At the moment, there are eight active ETF applications before the SEC. Apart from the previously mentioned VanEcK and WisdomTree, other firms that have filed for Bitcoin-based ETFs include NYDIG, Valkyrie, SkyBridge Capital, Simplify, and Fidelity.

WisdomTree and VanEcK are the only two companies that have also filed for Ethereum ETFs in addition to their Bitcoin ETFs.

This signifies that Ethereum ETFs are gaining more popularity as retail and institutional investors look to gain exposure to the digital asset without investing in it directly.

Several factors have driven Ethereum’s popularity and increasing institutional adoption among investors. These include decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and improvement in the crypto asset’s infrastructure. A planned upgrade from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) has also piqued investors’ interest.

If VanEcK and WisdomTree’s Ether ETF applications are approved, they would be the first set of Ether ETFs in the US, but not the first in North America.

Three Ethereum ETFs have already been approved and are available in Canada on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

Canada has also approved several Bitcoin ETFs, and these funds have grown exponentially in a few months with massive investor interests. In the US, investors continue to be optimistic that the SEC’s new crypto-conscious chairman, Gary Gensler, will approve an ETF soon.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Thailand SEC to Targets Decentralized Finance (DeFi), Drafts New Regulations

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to draft new regulations regarding decentralized finance (DeFi) projects.

DeFi Platforms May Require License Soon

According to reports from Bangkok post, DeFi platforms may require a license to operate in Thailand soon.

Per the SEC statement, the new regulation would target DeFi protocols that issue tokens. The statement reads,

“The issuance of digital tokens must be authorized and overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the issuer is required to disclose information and offer the coins through the token portals licensed under the Digital Asset Decree.”

The SEC clampdown on the country’s DeFi sector follows the listing of the token of local DeFi protocol Tuktuk (TUK) Finance on cryptocurrency exchange Bitkub Chain.

Following its debut, TUK soared in value to the tune of “several hundred dollars” before crashing to $1 a few minutes after.

Speaking on the new wave of regulations, the CEO of Ava Advisor, Niran Pravithana, said that it was important that the announcement was made due to the several fraudulent tokens issued recently.

Pravithana added that criminals behind the fraudulent tokens use messenger applications like Telegram and manipulate the token prices.

Dome Charoenyost, the founder of Tokenine, also supported the new policy, saying that the law gives the SEC the authority to regulate coin issuance and supervise licensed intermediaries.

Thailand Tightening Crypto Regulations

Thailand laid out more regulations in the cryptocurrency industry this year, which could be attributed to the booming crypto adoption in the country.

In April, data compiled by the Thai SEC and released by Bloomberg indicated a combined volume across licensed Thai crypto exchanges increased from 574.5 million in November 2020 to $3.96 billion in February this year.

The number of registered Thailand crypto accounts on exchanges in Thailand also spiked from 160,000 in 2020 to nearly 700,000 at the start of May 2021.

Upon seeing the increasing usage of crypto exchanges, Thailand’s financial regulators introduced new rules regarding account creation at crypto-asset exchanges.

Last month, Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office introduced strict know-your-customer (KYC) protocols. The regulator wants crypto exchanges to verify the identities of new customers in-person using a “dip-chip” machine.

The dip-chip machines require customers to be physically present for the verification process. This is because the machines operate by scanning the Thai citizen ID cards. Despite the government’s move on the DeFi space, financial institutions have remained receptive to the sector.

The Siam Commercial Bank announced a $50 million investment fund in February, and Thailand’s Fourth-Largest Bank Kbank disclosed its usage of DeFi services in exploring a new project.

In the same vein, the Brooker Group, a financial consultancy firm, revealed plans to invest nearly $50 million in decentralized finance (DeFi) and decentralized application (dapp) projects last month.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

After Several Years, The SEC Charges BitConnect Promoters

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged five individuals for promoting the global unregistered digital asset securities offering, BitConnect, that raised over $2 billion from retail investors between January 2017 to January 2018.

BitConnect organized a global network of promoters through referral commissioners and used them to sell securities in its “lending program” without registering the securities and themselves as broker-dealers with the Commission as required by federal security laws, the SEC said on Friday.

The agency alleged Trevon Brown, Michael Noble, Crag Grant, and Ryan Maasen, among the promoters advertising to prospective investors through YouTube videos. Joshua Jeppesen, who represented BitConnect at conferences and acted as a liaison between the company and promoters, is also charged by the agency.

In its charges, the SEC said BitConnect told investors that it would use their funds to trade in, profit from the volatility, and promised to pay investors the profits. Reportedly, BitConnect promised as much as 40% per month.

“We will seek to hold accountable those who illegally profit by capitalizing on the public’s interest in digital assets,” said Lara Shalov Mehraban, Associate Regional Director of SEC’s New York Regional Office.

The SEC’s complaint charges the promoter defendants with violating the registration provisions of the federal securities laws and seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement plus interest, and civil penalties.

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Author: AnTy

VanEck Files for the First Ethereum ETF in the US

While awaiting a decision on its Bitcoin ETF, which the Securities and Exchange Commission has postponed to July, VanEck filed for an Ethereum exchange-traded fund (ETF).

If approved, the VanEck Ethereum Trust would hold Ether and value its shares daily based on the MVIS CryptoCompare Ethereum benchmark rate and list those shares on the Cboe BZX Exchange, as per the filing with the SEC.

While the first one in America, already three Ether ETFs are trading in Canada after making their debut last month.

“Canada approving Ethereum ETFs so quickly on the heels of Bitcoin ETFs is part of the reasoning for this filing,” said James Seyffart, ETF analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence.

“I don’t see the SEC approving an Ethereum ETF until we have a Bitcoin ETF that has already begun trading. It’s possible that other issuers will follow suit because VanEck has been leading the charge with these filings in the last five months or so.”

While at least eleven companies are looking to launch a crypto ETF, US regulators have yet to approve a single one. Nine companies have filed for applications since the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, a small exchange-traded fund that changed its ticker to BTC last month is now reversing the move.

The issuer of ClearShares Piton Intermediate Fixed Income ETF said in a brief filing with the SEC this week that it will revert to the ticker PIFI from May 11, without any explanations for the same.

While initially, it looked like a bull market thing, a company trying to ride the coattails of crypto’s success, later, as we reported, there was speculation that Grayscale Investment might be the one looking to launch its ETF through ClearShares.

Grayscale said at the time that it was taking a stake in ClearShares and then later announced that it was “100% committed” its GBTC product into an ETF.

This switch to ETF resulted in assets in the Piton Intermediate Fixed Income ETF almost doubling to $62 million, with all of the new inflow coming in a single day shortly after the symbol change to BTC.

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Author: AnTy

SEC Postpones Decision on VanEck Bitcoin ETF to June 17

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed its decision on the VanEck Bitcoin ETF until June.

On March 1, 2021, Cboe BZX Exchange filed with the SEC to list and trade shares of the VanEck Bitcoin Trust. The SEC typically takes 45 days, or a longer period of 90 days, from the date an application is filed to render a decision whether it should be approved or disapproved.

Per standard, the 45-day window for the application ends on May 3, but the SEC is extending the deadline. The official notice reads,

“The Commission finds that it is appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the comments received.”

As such, June 17 is designated as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove, but of course, even then, they can defer the decision, which is to be seen.

As we reported, the new SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, who has taught about crypto and blockchain at MIT, was confirmed less than a fortnight ago.

In the past, SEC disapproved every single Bitcoin ETF application on the grounds of extreme price volatility, manipulation, and fraud in the crypto market.

Meanwhile, several Bitcoin ETFs have been approved this year in other countries. Canada has even moved past Bitcoin and already has four Ether ETFs trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Purpose Bitcoin ETF, the most popular in North America so far, has amassed almost 18,685 BTC.

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Author: AnTy

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton Goes Out with a Bang

The parting shot leaves the crypto market red, a BTD opportunity.

  • US Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton’s last day as the Wall Street top regulator was on Wednesday.
  • While exciting news to the crypto community, Clayton’s parting shot provided the industry with a red market.

On Tuesday, SEC charged Ripple and its former CEO Chris Larsen and current CEO Brad Garlinghouse, after seven years, for selling $1.3 billion unregistered securities offering in 2013.

This resulted in the price of XRP crashing 58% this week. This led to a market-wide sell-off that wiped out $62 billion since Monday when Garlinghouse first reported about the upcoming charges.

However, Bitcoin was largely unaffected, going down to only $22,700 and we are back above $23,000 already.

This crypto carnage can also be seen as a blessing in disguise as it gave investors an opportunity to buy the dips amidst the raging bull market.

Clayton had previously announced that he will be stepping down by the end of this year. In a statement posted on SEC’s website, Clayton said he submitted a letter to President Donald Trump informing him of his decision to leave the agency this week.

While Trump is likely to have ‘Crypto Mom’ Hester Peirce or Elad Roisman as acting Chairman, President-elect will be picking a permanent successor to Cayton. Biden will be sworn in as US President on January 20. Clayton, a former partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, wrote,

“It has been the honor and privilege of my professional life to serving the American people as Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”

Clayton praised the SEC for keeping the financial markets function through the coronavirus pandemic and its efforts to modernize regulations. He added,

“The absolute trust and unwavering support you and your economic team provided to me and the 4,500 women and men of the Commission has enabled us to pursue our mission to the benefit of the more than 65 million American households who invest in and depend on our markets.”

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Author: AnTy

SEC Commissioner Urges to ‘Embrace’ the Personal Financial Liberty as Crypto & DeFi Gains Adoption

Commissioner Hester M. Peirce of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made new remarks on Thursday urging regulators to honor the right to financial freedom.

Talking about the digital assets sector, Peirce, who is known as ‘Crypto Mom’ in the industry, said crypto-regulation is one area where “intersection between personal liberty and regulation looms large.”

She noted the new challenges posed by crypto because they are rooted in a key principle of people’s fundamental right to engage with one another without a trusted third party. At the same time, regulators are used to dealing with intermediaries “because they are easy to grab hold of and regulate.”

Peirce discusses how these challenges are growing as crypto evolves while the SEC struggles with the issues with their regulatory nature.

Now with the explosion of decentralized finance, they “will pose thorny questions and decisions for us in the coming years.”

Reembrace national passion for personal freedom

Peirce remains an advocate for the crypto industry. Once again, she wants regulators to “figure out a way to embrace the personal liberty principles undergirding it,” especially now that crypto is gaining adoption outside and inside the legacy financial system. She said in her speech,

“If we were instead to steamroll the technology’s liberty-enhancing features under the weight of regulation, we would lose a lot of the power of the new technology to afford opportunities to people whose autonomy has previously been curbed by.”

According to her, regulators are using climate policy as a disguise as it “does not raise the same kind of fears that other types of central planning would.” Peirce said,

“The decentralization of crypto is the opposite of central planning, which is making something of a comeback, with financial regulation as one of its primary tools. After an unsuccessful history, people would reject central planning out of hand unless it came in a disguise. The disguise of the day is climate policy.”

Directing these efforts through financial regulation will only make the capital markets less effective and more brittle at serving all sectors of the economy.

The crypto-friendly SEC commissioner also touched upon the accredited investors, which requires a person to be wealthy or have a high income. Although the accredited investor category has been expanded slightly, Peirce added,

“the presumption that people need to entreat a regulator for permission to invest still offends principles of personal liberty, which allow people both to earn and spend money as they see fit.”

Today’s “well-intentioned regulations” are very much in tension with personal liberty, and Peirce wants the regulators to “reembrace our national passion” for individual freedom.

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Author: AnTy

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton to Step Down By Years End; Will Crypto Regulations Ease?

Jay Clayton is set to step down as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman by the end of this year.

Clayton, who has been at the agency’s helm since May 2017, stated he would be departing six months from his scheduled exit. He was expected to step down in June next year.

Appointed by President Donald Trump and sworn in as chair in May 2017. His early departure could have accelerated by the apparent election of Joe Biden as the next president, it still remains to be seen who might replace him. Stating,

“I would like to thank President Trump for the opportunity, and the support and freedom, to lead the women and men of the SEC.”

The chair also thanked Secretary Mnuchin as well as the entire treasury for their support and assistance. He also praised other agencies in the treasury department for their close working relations.

According to a statement from the SEC, Through Clayton’s leadership, the SEC improved the capacity of businesses of different sizes to raise capital and strengthen the enforcement of programs. The report said:

“The Commission obtained orders for over $14 billion in monetary remedies, including a record $4.68 billion in fiscal year 2020, and returned approximately $3.5 billion to harmed investors.”

“In addition, during Chairman Clayton’s tenure, the Commission paid approximately $565 million to whistleblowers, including the largest single award in the program’s history ($114 million).”

The SEC also stated that Clayton was steadfast in the enforcement of different policies and regulations within the crypto space. His tenure coincides with the recent largest Bitcoin’s bull run and the 2017 ICO’s wave.

Clayton was a controversial figure in the crypto space for his hard stance that almost all the ICOs were offering unregistered securities. Notably, however, Clayton opined that Bitcoin was not a security as well as Ethereum too. Later, the SEC reaffirmed this opinion.

In his tenure, Clayton has seen the SEC institute fines on numerous crypto projects which ran ICOs. Over the last year alone, the SEC collected about $1.26 billion as fines from different crypto projects. His departure is seen as a welcome move from the crypto and blockchain community.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Bitcoin-Friendly Ex-CFTC Chief Gary Gensler to Advise Biden on Wall Street

Former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Gary Gensler will be joining Joe Biden’s presidential transition to examine financial regulators.

Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs partner, is known for implementing a new regulatory regime for swaps and has gained a reputation for standing up to Wall Street.

He is also known for his bitcoin-friendly views, which he called a “catalyst for change.” Gensler actually taught a course at MIT called “Blockchain and Money” on how Bitcoin and the technology underpinning it could be used in finance.

It has been under Donald Trump’s presidential term that the IRS added the infamousdo you own crypto” question, and the President told the Treasury to “go after Bitcoin.” Not to mention he himself isn’t a fan of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies either.

Meanwhile, Gensler has said although many currencies face regulatory scrutiny, Bitcoin “should remain exempt” from that.

Crypto market participants feel positive about Joe Biden and that he could be good for the industry. Even cryptocurrency derivatives exchange FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried made the second biggest contribution to Biden.

The real winner of this election has clearly been Bitcoin as not only the price of the digital currency reached some important levels to climb to a 24-month high, but crypto-friendly faces could be seen in the government too.

Quant trader and entrepreneur Qiao Wang also noted that Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been “openly hostile towards BTC.”

Not only “a likely Republican senate to counter Dems’ aggressive regulation tendencies,” but Wang also believes, “Democrats are more likely to create inflation which is good for BTC.”

Recently we also saw Wyoming electing Bitcoiner Cynthia Lummis to the US Senate.

KeyBank NA executive Don Graves has also been tapped for the role, a longtime Biden adviser involved in reviewing bank regulators.

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Author: AnTy

SEC Raises the Crowdfunding Limit; A Better Alternative to ICO, IEO, & Venture Capital

The US Securities and Exchange Commission raised the limit on crowdfunding from $1.07 million to $5 million, making it easier for startups to raise money from non-accredited investors.

With a 3-2 vote on Monday, several exemptions were made to federal securities legal guidelines that require issuers to register with the SEC and publish monetary statements.

Many financial instruments are categorized as securities, and to offer security, one is either required to register, which is a time-consuming and expensive process, or fall under the exemption such as Reg A, Reg D, which now also involves Reg CF or Reg Crowdfunding.

With this rule change, companies are now provided with more flexibility.

“This means entrepreneurs can raise more money and do so more easily,” said Bruce Fenton, CEO of CEO Chainstone Labs. Adding,

“This is huge – $5 million is significant enough to attract much larger and more high quality issuers. The small business sector will be rebuilt — this is a step to accelerate that. Reg CF also sidesteps the accredited requirement- an antiquated thorn in the side of innovation.”

The change in the rules is the newest assistance to small and medium-size corporations following the expansion of accredited investors’ definition in August.

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said the rule would “improve effectivity and facilitate capital formation,” and that it might cut back regulatory prices and burdens for corporations.

“Huge for companies from non-tech hub cities, underrepresented founders, and less sexy industries,” said Ryan Selkis of Messari.

Meanwhile, Shehan Chandrasekera, Head of Tax Strategy CoinTracker, says this brings a better alternative for crypto companies that usually goes the route of Initial Coin Offering (ICI), Initial Exchange Offering (IEO), and venture capital.

“REG Crowdfunding limit went up to 5M from 1M per SEC. A better alternative to an ICO or IEO,” he said.

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Author: AnTy