Business 14 February 2019

Gerald Fenech

SEC askes Reality Shares to withdraw ETF application

It looks like the road has become even more bleaker for an Exchange Traded Fund in Bitcoin Core (BTC) to become reality, as yet another application seems to have bit the dust. In fact, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has just written to the rather aptly titled Reality Shares Inc to withdraw its BTC ETF application.

Incidentally, the Reality Shares application was the very first to flout the BTC mark but it has now become the first to aptly bite the dust. Similar applications by, amongst others, the Winkelvoss Twins remain mired at a standstill with no prospective hope of ever getting approved. In the meantime, the BTC price continues to languish at historic low for the year at around $3400-$3600, surely not very appetizing for investors looking at some return on their investment.

The California-based investment company known for being the first to start selling blockchain ETFs, filed a registration form with the SEC earlier this week to list its BTC ETF. However, this was given short shrift as the agency today requested the issuers to withdraw their filings.

If it had been approved, NYSE Arca, the exchange owned and operated by the ‎Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)‎‏,‏ would have hosted the proposed listing. That now looks like a completely impossible outcome.

The full text of the SEC letter reads as follows:

“Pursuant to Rule 477(a) under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “1933 Act”), Reality Shares ETF Trust (the “Registrant” or the “Trust”) hereby respectfully requests the withdrawal of Post-Effective Amendment No. 25 to the Trust’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A, as it applies to the registration of the Reality Shares Blockforce Global Currency Strategy ETF (the “Fund”) (“PEA No. 25”). PEA No. 25 was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) via EDGAR (Accession No. 0001144204-19-005966) on February 11, 2019, pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of Rule 485 under the 1933 Act. The Registrant is requesting the withdrawal of PEA No. 25 at the request of the Staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. No securities have been sold in connection with the offering of the Fund.”

According to the application, which provided details about the “Reality Shares Blockforce Global Currency Strategy ETF,” the new vehicle would not be exclusively comprised of BTC futures. The fund, if it was to come to life, would have invested in sovereign debts, money market mutual funds or other cash equivalents.

 “The Fund expects to obtain exposure to Bitcoin [BTC] Futures by investing up to 25% of its total assets in a wholly-owned and controlled Cayman Islands subsidiary,” and would also include “high-quality, short-term sovereign debt instruments listed for trading on U.S. exchanges and denominated in U.S. dollar, euro, British pounds sterling, Japanese yen and Swiss francs,” the filing further read.

At this point, the SEC has not approved any issuers’ plans for BTC or cryptocurrency ETFs and does not look likely to do so at any point in the future. The regulator refused earlier to review BTC ETF applications for tracking cryptocurrency futures, such as the one proposed by Reality Shares, citing that the contracts didn’t exist. However, the process has become much more confused even after nearly two years of debuting BTC futures through Cboe and CME group. Many have also attributed the huge decline in the BTC and other cryptocurrency prices to these futures.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) is today the only Bitcoin project that follows the original Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper, and that follows the original Satoshi protocol and design. BSV is the only public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin and will massively scale to become the world’s new money and enterprise blockchain.

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