The Senate Banking Committee is expected to hold a hearing on bitcoin in February featuring leaders from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
News of the Senate hearing comes shortly after the SEC requested that exchange traded fund issuers withdraw plans for a slew of bitcoin ETFs. Direxion, ProShares and VanEck are among a handful of ETF issuers that have withdrawn filings to launch bitcoin ETFs at the request of U.S. regulators. First Trust is also among the issuers that withdrew plans for bitcoin ETFs.
The CFTC and the SEC “have largely not taken firm regulatory action on bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies over the past several months, but have issued warnings to investors about digital currencies in recent months,” reports The Hill.
Last month, bitcoin futures debuted on the Cboe followed by the product launching on the CME. Nasdaq is expected to make futures on the digital currency available later this year.
Thus far, no exchange traded products related to digital currencies have been approved by U.S. regulators. Derivatives help increase liquidity and improve markets for an asset category by allowing investors to bet on ups and downs of an asset, evening allowing individuals to adopt market-neutral strategies. They are also a key component in the creation of many futures-backed ETFs utilized by a range of investors.
Earlier this month, the SEC warned investors on the risks associated with cryptocurrencies. The SEC points out that some digital currency market participants and promoters of initial coin offerings (ICOs) are not following federal and state laws that govern other parts of financial markets, such as stocks and bonds.
“Financial groups have long talked of creating bitcoin and general cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to make the currency more accessible to casual and institutional investors, but several fund managers shelved their plans for such funds this past week, citing SEC concerns,” according to The Hill.
For more information on the cryptocurrency market, visit our Bitcoin category.