U.S. SEC rejects carbon-neutral bitcoin ETF by One River

By John McCrank

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday rejected a proposal to list and trade a carbon-neutral spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) by asset management firm One River on the NYSE Arca exchange, citing concerns over fraud-prevention measures.

The One River Carbon Neutral Bitcoin Trust proposal by NYSE Arca, which is owned by Intercontinental Exchange Inc, did not meet the standards for exchanges designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative practices and protect investors and the public interest, the Wall Street regulator said.

“The Commission emphasizes that its disapproval of this proposed rule change does not rest on an evaluation of whether bitcoin, or blockchain technology more generally, has utility or value as an innovation or an investment,” the SEC said.

Rather, the proposal was not approved because it did not meet the requirement that the rules of a national securities exchange be “designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices” and “to protect investors and the public interest,” the SEC said.

To meet its obligations, an exchange would have to show that it has a comprehensive surveillance-sharing agreement with a regulated market of significant size related to the underlying bitcoin assets, the SEC said.

It was the latest in a series of rejections by the market regulator to approve an ETF that tracks the underlying digital asset, including those from Fidelity, NYDIG and SkyBridge earlier this year.

One River intended to offset the carbon footprint associated with the bitcoins in its fund by paying for the retirement of voluntary carbon credits equal to the daily estimated carbon emissions associated with the bitcoins held by the trust, according to the proposal.

(Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Leslie Adler)