SEC shoots down Ark 21Shares in latest spot bitcoin ETF rejection

The ARK Investments and 21Shares collaborative spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) has reached the end of the line with a rejection order from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The firms proposed the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF, a joint submission that set 21Shares as the sponsor of the trust and ARK as the lead in marketing the shares. The firms first filed in June of 2021.

Cboe BZX Exchange subsequently filed a rule change to list the product, putting the SEC on the clock. That led to a series of extensions from the regulator, including a public request for comment.


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After kicking the can down the road, the application has reached the end. The SEC issued a rejection order today, citing similar concerns found in previous spot bitcoin ETF dismissals:

"The Commission concludes that BZX has not met its burden under the Exchange Act and the Commission’s Rules of Practice to demonstrate that its proposal is consistent with the requirements of Exchange Act Section 6(b)(5), and in particular, 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 has rejected all applications to reach the end of the consideration period in this cycle of attempts. 

About Author

Aislinn Keely is a reporter on The Block's policy team holding down the legal beat. She covers court decisions, bankruptcies, regulatory actions and other key moments in the legal sphere, putting them in context for the wider crypto industry. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV and helmed Fordham University's student newspaper. Send tips or thoughts on all things policy and legal to or follow her on Twitter for updates @AislinnKeely.