U.S. regulator stands by decision barring Winklevoss bitcoin ETF

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday stood by a decision to block an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that would have tracked bitcoin.

Brothers Cameron (L) and Tyler Winklevoss talk to each other as they attend a New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) virtual currency hearing in the Manhattan borough of New York January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

In a statement on its website, the market regulatory agency said it found “unpersuasive” arguments that the bitcoin ETF proposed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, founders of crypto exchange Gemini Trust Co LLC, would be sufficiently protected from manipulation.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that can be used to move money around the world quickly and with relative anonymity, without the need for a central authority, such as a bank or government. A fund holding the currency could bring more investors to the asset and push its price higher.

The SEC blocked the ETF from coming to market in March 2017 but then faced an appeal from CBOE Holdings Inc’s (CBOE.O) Bats exchange, which applied to list the ETF and contested the original ruling. At least five other bitcoin ETF proposals before the SEC are still pending.

CBOE and Gemini did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP traded down 1.5 percent on the Bitstamp exchange, turning negative after the SEC’s statement.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by Anna Irrera and Michelle Price; Editing by Dan Grebler and Phil Berlowitz

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