The exchange operator of CBOE Global Markets wrote a letter to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), recommending they not interfere in the development of a Bitcoin exchange-traded-fund (ETF) because they are similar to other commodity-based ETFs, March 23.
ETFs are a type of exchange-traded-product (ETP). An ETF is a marketable security that tracks an index, a commodity, bonds, or a basket of assets like an index fund. ETFs trade like common stock on a stock exchange and typically have higher daily liquidity and lower fees than shares of mutual funds.
CBOE President Chris Concannon’s letter was in written response to a letter issued by the SEC in January 2018 in which, among other concerns, the SEC expressed disquiet over sufficient liquidity in cryptocurrency markets, as well as potential risks for manipulation.
Concannon stated that, “As the volumes continue to grow, especially on regulated US markets, the overall spot Bitcoin market looks more and more like a traditional commodity market and CBOE continues to believe that the spot market is sufficiently liquid to support a Bitcoin ETP.”
Concannon added that, “…CBOE believes that the arbitrage mechanism would function identically to other commodity-related ETPs… thereby keeping the price of the ETP in line with the price of Bitcoin and limiting the risk of manipulation shares of the ETP.”
Concannon echoed sentiments from a Congressional hearing earlier this month, in which experts suggested that existing legislation is sufficient to regulate certain aspects of cryptocurrencies.
“While CBOE shares many of the concerns raised in the Staff Letter, we believe that the vast majority of these concerns can be addressed within the existing framework for commodity-related funds related to valuation, liquidity, custody, arbitrage, and manipulation,” Concannon wrote in his letter to Dalia Blass, a Director of the Division of Investment Management.
The SEC has been stepping up measures against crypto-related companies this year. On March 15 the SEC confirmed dozens of probes into cryptocurrency companies, issuing subpoenas to firms it suspects of flouting securities laws during initial coin offerings (ICO). Earlier this week, a source speaking to WSJ said that the SEC will increase its scrutiny in launching examinations into up to 100 hedge funds.