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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

On Thursday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rejected (for the second time) a proposal for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund from the Winklevoss brothers — but one commissioner dissented, warning that the decision "sends a strong signal that innovation is unwelcome in our markets."

Why it matters: As the crypto-assets have gone more mainstream, investors are impatiently hoping to get more regulatory clarity and acceptance.

The SEC says its decision to reject the proposal comes down to its insufficient ability to protect investors from market manipulation, especially in offshore markets, and fraud.

The other side: SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce argues that the SEC is mistakenly assessing the Bitcoin market instead of the adequacy of the exchange's rules, thus overstepping its authority.

  • She also argues that approving the proposal, leading to more institutional investors jumping into the market, would help alleviate some of the agency's concerns including decreasing Bitcoin price differences among exchanges, and forcing exchanges to invest more in security, custody and investor protections.
  • And notably, she criticizes the agency for making a judgement on Bitcoin technology, which could send a message that it's not open to innovation it doesn't deem advanced enough.

What's next: There's at least one other Bitcoin-based ETF proposal awaiting a decision from the SEC. On Tuesday, Bitwise, which debuted an index for the top 10 cryptocurrencies last year, filed a proposal for a similar ETF.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Pfizer coronavirus vaccine safe, effective in children, company says

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11, albeit at a lower dose than adults receive, the companies said in a press release announcing results from a pediatric trial.

Why it matters: The trial results are a much-needed source of hope for families with elementary school-aged children, who currently aren't eligible for a vaccine.

The pandemic made our workweeks longer

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The average American's workweek has gotten 10% longer during the pandemic, according to a new Microsoft study published in Nature Human Behaviour.

Why it matters: These longer hours are a key part of the pandemic-induced crisis of burnout at U.S. firms — and workers are quitting in droves.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky to herald "travel revolution"

Expand chart
Data: TSA. Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky will argue this week that the world is undergoing a "travel revolution," in which some parts of the industry stay shrunk but the sector ultimately comes back "bigger than ever."

Why it matters: Chesky, who faced the abyss when the world shut down last year, foresees a significant shift in how people move around, with more intentional gatherings of family, friends and colleagues — even if routine business travel is never what it once was.