The fight for bitcoin ETF approval and proper regulation through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is raging on, and many crypto leaders and entrepreneurs are working with the organization to see about mass adoption and approval among both government bodies and the public.
Making Bitcoin a Mainstream Currency
The goal to bring bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to light has not been easy. For one thing, the financial market is still largely dominated by credit cards and cash, and while there are some retailers like Overstock.com that accept bitcoin as a method of payment for goods and services, it’s still a rarity. For the most part, many people still view bitcoin as an investment opportunity rather than a form of payment, and even that sentiment is beginning to slump considering bitcoin’s regular price falls.
Then, there’s the battle regarding cryptocurrency legislation. It was recently ruled that most cryptocurrencies – particularly bitcoin and Ethereum – were commodities, not securities, and thus couldn’t be governed by the SEC. Instead, the reins were handed over to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which now oversees new laws and regulation regarding entities like bitcoin.
Not Everything Was Clear
Though investors now have a clear answer, there was fear brewing in the cryptocurrency space not that long ago when Ethereum garnered notoriety from the SEC. The organization was looking into the coin’s past, and some alleged that it was potentially a security due to its history as a pre-sale token. In other words, Ethereum came about through an initial coin offering (ICO).
Many scoured and balked at this idea, given Ethereum’s decentralized nature. They claimed that the coin had become more and more decentralized over time, and that any governance by way of the SEC would make little to no sense. While the organization ultimately came to see the light on this matter, it was a scary time for most Ethereum investors.
What’s Going on with These ETFs?
Now, we have many people awaiting the approval of the world’s first bitcoin ETF. Several have been submitted over the past months, including one from the Winklevoss Twins of New York’s Gemini Exchange. While this application and others were outright rejected, one stood out amongst SEC members and viewers alike. It was submitted by the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust; it garnered newfound attention from the SEC, which posted the application for public comment and even sought the opinions of industry experts to better understand the next move.
Many thought this would be the application the SEC would approve, though any decision-making has been postponed to late September. This has caused panic and mayhem amongst crypto enthusiasts, many of whom have sold their stashes, thus bringing bitcoin down to its present position.
Just Be Straight with Us
Some are saying they’ve had enough with all the hoopla and want things to be straightforward here on out. Thus, they have formed what’s called the Virtual Commodity Association Working Group, designed to bring attention to cryptocurrencies and assist members of the public in seeing the benefits that bitcoin and its cousins have to offer.
The Working Group is comprised of several digital currency exchanges, including Gemini, Bittrex and Bitstamp. As a self-regulatory body, they are now meeting with the SEC to develop appropriate and fair legislation regarding cryptocurrency that can benefit all who use it.
John Roth, chief compliance and ethics officer at Bittrex, comments:
“The blockchain industry must focus on protecting its customers and operating in a responsible manner to significantly increase adoption globally. By working with the VCA, we can advance our shared goals of improving transparency, accountability and security across all virtual currency trading platforms. This effort will also complement our discussions with regulators and legislators about developing a long-term solution that creates a fully-compliant environment for blockchain while encouraging innovation, economic growth and US leadership in the industry.”
During its first upcoming meeting, the organization will establish the guidelines necessary for membership, staffing and dealing with conflicts of interest. In addition, the body has appointed Maria Filipakis as its interim executive director. Filipakis previously headed the New York Department of Financial Services, where she worked to establish the Big Apple’s BitLicense requirements.