SEC rejects bitcoin ETF application from Winklevoss twins

"We remain optimistic and committed to bringing COIN to market, and look forward to continuing to work with the SEC staff", Tyler Winklevoss told the Wall Street Journal. The application meant to list the asset on the Bats exchange, which is owned by CBOE Holdings Inc. It last traded down 7.8 percent to US$1098.

While many investors had plunged headlong into the currency, expecting the SEC to greenlight the ETF, others had expressed doubts about how much control the Winklevoss brothers would have had over the value of the assets. The fund is expected to simplify the process of investing in bitcoin without having to own the virtual currency.

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Yet it presents a new set of risks to investors given its limited adoption, a number of massive security breaches affecting bitcoin owners, and the lack of consistent treatment of the assets by governments.

"The Commission notes that bitcoin is still in the relatively early stages of its development and that, over time, regulated bitcoin-related markets of significant size may develop", the document reads. They've stated that the unregulated nature of the Bitcoin market posed an immediate threat to its trading.

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As it is a digital currency traded online, there are no exchange holidays in the bitcoin market. For the founders of the ETF, The Winklevoss Twins, the denial brings about the close of an nearly four-year attempt at a digital currency ETF.

Three bitcoin groups - including one run by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the Harvard-educated Olympic rowers best known for accusing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ofstealing their idea - haveasked for regulatory approval. The former Olympic rowers ultimately settled their legal dispute, which was dramatised in the 2010 film The Social Network. While prices had broken $1,300 this week in anticipation of approval, they fell steeply on Friday. Because of the way they're created, bitcoins are available on a limited basis, which, based on increased demand, would help increase the price. Solutions to the puzzle come roughly every 10 minutes. Meanwhile the major bitcoin markets, the SEC notes, are now located outside of USA jurisdiction. In fact, the price of bitcoin crashed more than 20% after the news was announced.

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Hannah Randall, a spokeswoman for Bats, said the exchange is reviewing the ruling and declined to comment further. Essentially the underlying markets that now exist for trading bitcoin aren't regulated enough to responsibly support an ETF that would rely on those markets for liquidity.

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