On February 26, Commissioner Hester Peirce of the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a dissent to the SEC’s decision to reject a proposed rule change from NYSE Arca that would have allowed it to list shares of an exchange-traded fund backed by bitcoin and US Treasury bills. In her dissent, Commissioner Peirce argued that the

As part of its LabCFTC initiative, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued a Request for Input (RFI) to deepen the CFTC’s understanding of the technology, mechanics, and markets for Ether and its use on the Ethereum Network. In particular, the RFI seeks to understand similarities and distinctions between Ether and Bitcoin (as well as other

The Securities and Exchange Commission, acting through authority delegated to the Division of Trading and Markets (Division), disapproved proposals by the New York Stock Exchange Arca Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) BZX Exchange to list bitcoin exchange-traded products (ETPs) for trading. Both exchanges previously filed proposals to list ETPs that invest in bitcoin futures and/or related derivative instruments.
Continue Reading SEC Disapproves Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Products

On July 26, the Securities and Exchange Commission disapproved a Bats BZX Exchange proposed rule change that would have permitted the listing and trading of shares of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust (Trust) on BZX. This is the SEC’s second disapproval of the proposed rule change as it has previously disapproved the exchange’s original proposal in March 2017. Notably, Commissioner Hester Peirce dissented from the SEC’s most recent disapproval.
Continue Reading SEC Disapproves BZX Proposed Rule Change to List Shares of Bitcoin-Based Exchange-Traded Product

On May 21, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released a staff advisory that provides guidance to designated contract markets (DCMs) and swap execution facilities (SEFs) that plan to list virtual currency derivatives for trading and clearing organizations (DCOs) intending to clear virtual currency derivatives. The advisory notes that the CFTC’s recommendations are informed by the unique characteristics of virtual currencies that make obtaining information about the spot market difficult, including the fact that the commercial uses for virtual currencies are less developed than the commercial uses of other products underlying derivatives, and there is less price verification. The advisory addresses the need for enhanced market surveillance, coordination and communication with CFTC staff, large trading reporting, outreach to relevant stakeholders and risk management of DCOs.
Continue Reading CFTC Issues Virtual Currency Advisory for Exchanges and Clearinghouses

On July 25, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Report of Investigation cautioning that certain offers and sales of digital assets of virtual organizations (e.g., “coin offerings” or “token sales”) could be deemed securities offerings and therefore subject to the federal securities laws. More details relating to the Report of Investigation are available in

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued an order granting LedgerX LLC registration as a derivatives clearing organization (DCO). As specified in the order, LedgerX is permitted to clear fully collateralized digital currency swaps. A transaction will be fully collateralized if LedgerX holds, at all times, funds in the form of the required payment sufficient to cover the maximum possible loss a counterparty could incur upon liquidation or expiration of the contract.
Continue Reading CFTC Grants DCO Registration to LedgerX

The US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California recently settled an enforcement action against Ripple Labs Inc., a Delaware corporation providing virtual currency exchange services. According to the settlement agreement, Ripple Labs was not registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) as a money services business (MSB) pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 while engaged in currency trading, and lacked required anti-money laundering controls.
Continue Reading Department of Justice Settles Virtual Currency Enforcement Action

On November 3, the UK Treasury issued a call for information on digital currencies, including Bitcoin. Views are being solicited from the public, the financial services industry, regulators, and law enforcement agencies. Commenters are asked to provide their views on how digital currencies can improve customer payments as well as encourage financial innovation. Commenters are

According to Reuters reports on September 12, TeraExchange, LLC, received approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to begin listing an over-the-counter swap that is based on the price of a bitcoin. The CFTC approval marks the first time a US regulatory agency approved a bitcoin financial product. In March, TeraExchange announced the finalization and