Jul 27, 2018

SEC commissioners not in agreement over Bitcoin ETF

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

White House recommends Americans wear masks in public

New Yorker wearing a homemade face covering. Photo: Selcuk Acar/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The White House announced that the CDC is recommending Americans wear cloth masks or face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, President Trump said at a press briefing on Friday — emphasizing the guidance is "voluntary."

Why it matters: The use of face coverings could stop people who have the virus, whether they have symptoms or not, from spreading it further when they go out in public.

Trump calls to fill up more places with oil

President Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil, in the wake of rock-bottom prices and an ensuing economic collapse of the sector itself.

Driving the news: Trump’s comments came Friday during a televised portion of a meeting he hosted with industry CEOs to discuss ways to help the sector. It’s reeling from a historic drop-off in demand with the world shutting down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 1,083,084 — Total deaths: 58,243 — Total recoveries: 225,422Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 266,671 — Total deaths: 6,921 — Total recoveries: 9,445Map.
  3. 2020 latest: Wisconsin governor calls for last-minute primary election delay.
  4. Oil latest: The amount of gasoline American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.