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 Moves To Expunge XRP Holders From Ongoing Ripple Lawsuit With Latest Filing

The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s ongoing lawsuit against blockchain firm Ripple Labs and its executives has taken a new twist.

SEC Files Opposition To Motion To Intervene

In a recent release, the agency filed a motion to stop XRP holders from intervening in the ongoing lawsuit. The filing termed the “Memorandum of Law in Opposition of the Motion to Intervene” seeks to ensure no third party is involved in the ongoing case.

The government agency said this is because the movants have no stake whatsoever and cannot be called in as reliable witnesses due to their association with the defendants.

It also noted that their grievances are properly represented by Ripple Labs and the company’s chairman Chris Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

The SEC noted that this is not the first occasion the movants have tried infusing themselves into the case, citing their first filing in the Rhodes Island District Court.

It, however, said that the XRP holders might force the agency to take up a legal case against the body of interested movants since there has not been any reason to bring them into the matter.

The SEC said that this intervention is summarily against the agency’s sovereign immunity, and if the courts decide to let them state their case, it may be forced to bring in other disgruntled investors who feel the defendants were not honest in their dealings with them.

The financial agency also explained that the movants’ cause is a lost one given the fact that whatever funds they lost following the lawsuit on secondary markets cannot be recovered as they are not a party to the case.

The SEC said the recent filing by the lead counsel for the movants Jordan Deaton lacked any new substantive argument as they have repeatedly borrowed from the defendants’ narrative of XRP not being a “security.”

It says this sustained discourse is similar to XRP’s position and shouldn’t, therefore, be allowed to stand in order not to foster delay and confusion.

The regulatory body also jabbed at Deaton’s motive, subtly stating that this could be a platform for the lawyer to gain Twitter prominence following the growing media attention surrounding the case.

Ripple Scaling Up Despite SEC Lawsuit

The SEC’s lawsuit in the closing days of 2020 adversely affected Ripple Lab’s partnerships and its utility token’s valuation in the secondary market.

Following the December filing by outgoing Chairman Jay Clayton, crypto exchanges in the US swiftly delisted the XRP token from their platforms. If that weren’t enough, key partnerships with US companies, went underwater with MoneyGram reneging its agreement with the embattled company.

Ripple CEO Garlinghouse had noted that most of the blockchain company’s business was executed overseas, citing the regulatory haze in the American nation as a deterrent to innovative banking in the country.

He also pointed out that only the US SEC has a problem with the XRP token given that Asian nations, the area XRP has the most influence, do not classify the digital token as a “security.”

In the months that followed, XRP dropped from the 4th most valuable crypto position to the bottom ten, and its value traded way below a dollar.

But following preliminary victories in the opening case with the SEC, the XRP has rallied significantly, and calls for the digital payment firm to be relisted on exchanges have begun making the rounds.

And as the general crypto market has rallied, the XRP token has surged after it rose 17% in April and momentarily reclaimed its position as the 4th most valuable cryptocurrency.

The San Francisco-based fintech company has also been strategically repositioning itself since the SEC lawsuit was made public. Ripple said it was launching a private version of its XRP Ledger Protocol tailored for national banks in a release on its website. This private protocol would help apex banks in the issuance, maintenance, and monitoring of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), set to serve a secondary role to fiat.

The US tech company also recently appointed former US Treasurer Rosa Gumataotao Rios as a board member. Alongside, financial veteran Kristina Campbell will serve as the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Rios’ former role as the currency maker is seen as a strategic move to sell the idea of digital currencies to anti-crypto critics. Campbell would be tasked with the responsibility of accelerating the company’s growth while delivering value to shareholders.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

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

It’s Time for Ethereum: Two Ether ETF Approved by Canadian Securities Regulators

It’s Time for Ethereum: Two Ether ETF Approved by Canadian Securities Regulators

One of the products is from Purpose Investments, which launched the world’s first Bitcoin ETF that has amassed 18,500 BTC in just two months, and another is from Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital.

While Bitcoin exchange-traded funds have been the talk of the town, Ethereum is not far behind as Canada approves two Ether ETFs in one day.

Canadian securities regulators have cleared asset manager Purpose Investments to launch the first direct Ether ETF in the world.

The Purpose ETF is designed to provide investors exposure to the second-largest cryptocurrency by investing directly in physically settled Ether (ETH) tokens.

“While Bitcoin tends to get a lot of attention as it was the first major cryptocurrency, what Ether and the Ethereum ecosystem represent is one of the most exciting new technology visions today in society.”

Som Seif Founder, and CEO of Purpose Investments

On February 18th, the company launched the world’s first Bitcoin ETF, which currently manages nearly 18,500 BTC, with assets under management (AUM) reaching CAD 1.43 billion ($1.14 billion). BTC -1.26% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 60,885.86
-$767.16-1.26%
Volume 65.98 b Change -$767.16 Open $60,885.86 Circulating 18.69 m Market Cap 1.14 t
11 h It’s Time for Ethereum: Two Ether ETF Approved by Canadian Securities Regulators 1 d Miami-Dade County Task Force Is Looking at Ways for Residence to Pay Taxes Using Crypto 1 d UK Hedge Fund Brevan Howard Plans to Invest 1.6% of $5.6B Capital in Cryptocurrencies

“Ether is the cryptocurrency we believe has the most potential for the future and is where our expertise really lies. Building this ETF is not only a natural extension to the Purpose Investments digital asset lineup, but a natural fit for us at Ether Capital working alongside Purpose.”

Brian Mosoff Ether Capital CEO

Purpose will act as the manager of the ETF while Gemini is the sub-custodian and CIBC Mellon Global Securities Services Company acting as fund administrator.

The second Ether ETF approved is CI Galaxy Ethereum ETF by CI Global Asset Management and Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital.

With a management fee of 0.40%, the ETF will also invest directly into Ether and is expected to start trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”) on April 20, 2021, subject to TSX approval.

They also launched a CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF last month with the lowest management fee.

CI GAM is the manager of the Ether ETF, and Galaxy Digital Asset Management serves as the sub-advisor.

“The CI Galaxy Ethereum ETF gives investors a simplified path to benefit from the explosion of decentralized applications being built on Ethereum.”

Steve Kurz Partner and Head of Asset Management at Galaxy Digital

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Author: AnTy

Indian Securities Regulator to Restrict IPO Promoters from Holding Bitcoin: Report

India’s securities regulator is reported to be working on barring all IPO organizers from holding cryptocurrencies. This is another statement move from the government following its cryptocurrency ban.

The Indian government has shown no subtlety in its approach to banning cryptocurrencies from the country.

Now, it appears to be extending its anti-crypto stance to the traditional financial industry. Initial Public Offerings (IPO) promoters would be the first to feel its wrath.

No Crypto for Fundraisers

Recently, the Economic Times reported that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), India’s securities regulator, is planning to force all IPO participants to divest all crypto holdings before proceeding with their listings.

Per the report, crypto selloffs will most likely become a prerequisite for anyone looking to raise funds through an IPO, forming what the latest in New Delhi’s plans to eradicate digital assets is.

The news source reported that the SEBI plans to send notices to merchant banks, underwriters, securities lawyers, and all other stakeholders in India’s IPO space, warning them to stay off digital assets.

A securities lawyer told the news source that this would most likely be a government directive, as they could believe that an IPO promoter holding an illegal asset could pose a risk to investors.

Some investment bankers have also explained that the SBI might move ahead with the restriction even if the Reserve Bank’s ban on digital assets doesn’t pass parliamentary approval – an improbable process on its own.

Mahesh Singhi, an executive at investment banking firm SInghi Advisors, explained that SEBI is looking to avoid a situation where IPO promoters divers their raised funds to crypto investments, which remain highly speculative.

SEBI has yet to release any written notifications to that effect, but many stakeholders seem to believe that this restriction will come into effect soon.

No Time to Waste

The IPO restriction is the latest approach from the Indian government, which has vowed to disrupt the crypto sector in the country. First announced last month, the ban is gaining traction ahead of a presentation at the country’s lower parliament.

Titled the “Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill,” the proposal is already in consideration at the Rajya Sabha, India’s upper house of parliament. However, the current budget session is expected to run till April 8, with a recess session already ongoing until March 7.

Earlier this month, local news source CNBC-TV18 reported that the government might as well skip the parliamentary process altogether. Per the report, it could look to take the “ordinance route” to ban the use of private digital assets while also allowing the Reserve Bank to create a digital framework for its planned Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

CNBC-TV18 reported that all appropriate parties had already begun drafting the ordinance as they look to pass the crypto ban proposal within a month. Ordinances usually allow the Indian government, through President Ram Nath Kovind, to bypass parliament and take action.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Zurich-based Crypto Broker AG Receives Securities License from FINMA

Crypto Broker AG has obtained a securities house license from Swiss financial regulator, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) that will allow the company to offer services to institutional investors — “a significant milestone (that) caps a successful previous year,” the broker said in a statement Monday.

The firm is based in Switzerland, which has crypto favorable regulations, while major banks still stayed largely away from offering blockchain-based services.

Moreover, the securities license has been granted to a handful of companies that includes Sygnum and SEBA. Calling this a “pivotal moment,” Jan Brzezek, founder and CEO of the Crypto Finance Group, said, with this license,

“We will be able to offer our professional – and regulated – services to even more financial institutions, enabling them to enter this new asset class.”

Receiving the license means the broker can now hold funds on behalf of its clients as well, a feature which is “highly relevant for institutional clients, as many do not have their own capability.”

AG’s clients traded more than $1 billion in assets last year, with its digital operations growing “exponentially.” The company expects to further expand its business in 2021.

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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

Germany Passes Law to Allow Electronic Securities on Blockchain

Germany, the largest economy in Europe, has passed a law that will allow all-electronic securities to be recorded and traded based on blockchain technology. According to Reuters’ report, this is part of a more effective strategy by the country’s Finance Ministry to integrate existing ecosystems with blockchain.

The newly passed legislation does away with paper certificate requirements for selling securities within Germany’s financial markets. Stakeholders who pivoted towards this shift cited lengthy administrative processes that have often been a barrier.

While the paper certificate may have acquired sentimental value, the future belongs to an electronic version, according to Olaf Scholtz, Germany’s Minister of Finance. Scholtz said that,

“The paper certificate may be dear to some for nostalgic reasons, but the future belongs to its electronic version.”

Meanwhile, Germany is still making significant strides in the nascent crypto industry has released new guidelines that recognize crypto assets as financial instruments earlier this year. Its second-largest stock exchange, Börse Stuttgart, is also working to integrate security tokens to shift to virtual assets.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Fidelity-backed OSL Becomes World’s First SFC-Licensed & Insured Crypto Exchange

Fidelity owned BC Technology’s OSL Digital Securities has finally obtained the Securities and Exchange Commission’s license to become the world’s first SFC-licensed, listed, digital asset wallet-insured, Big-4 audited digital asset trading platform for institutions and professional investors.

One of Asia’s most prominent digital asset platforms for investors, OSL is now licensed to conduct Type 1 (dealing in securities) and Type 7 (automated trading service (ATS)) regulated activities.

Besides the Hong Kong licenses, OSL has also applied to the Monetary Authority of Singapore for a digital asset license under the Payment Services Act.

OSL can now legally operate regulated brokerage and automated trading services for digital assets. Once it goes live, which is to be announced in the coming weeks, OSL will offer trading access to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptos along with selected security token offerings (STOs). OSL CEO Wayne Trench said,

“Institutional investment in Bitcoin and other digital assets has rapidly accelerated over the past several years, and has entered a new era of growth in Hong Kong with licensing.”

“Institutions, and other professional investors, including HNWIs and family offices, can now trade digital assets with the region’s most comprehensive and trusted digital asset platform in OSL.”

The company already opted into SFC’s virtual asset regime, and now it has completed its rigorous vetting program.

According to the official announcement, the same heightened level of regulations has applied to digital assets that govern the securities markets so clients can trade with confidence under the safeguards they are accustomed to.

OSL customers will have to undergo “rigorous” KYC and AML measures while benefitted from the additional insurance protection on digital assets. OSL Head of Distribution and Prime Matt Long noted,

“Licensed entities are the future of digital assets and capital markets in the digital age, and professional investors, hedge funds, and family offices are now rapidly increasing portfolio allocations to digital assets such as Bitcoin.”

The digital platform had “exceptional” growth in 2019 and the first half of 2020 with a year-on-year revenue increase of 47%, driven by annualized trading volumes of $28 billion in the first six months of the year.

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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