United States flag with Bitcoin cryptocurrency
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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected a proposed Bitcoin-based ETF, citing continued concerns about investor protection.

In a decision released Friday, the SEC rejected a proposed rule change from the Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc., which was required for it to list and trade the VanEck Bitcoin Trust.

The SEC said in its ruling that the proposal doesn’t meet the requirements of securities rules, particularly the obligation of exchanges to have rules “designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices” and “to protect investors and the public interest.”

According to the decision, the exchange argued that the SEC’s concerns about the potential manipulation of Bitcoin-based exchange-traded products have been “sufficiently mitigated” by developments including the growth of trading volume in Bitcoin futures, increased liquidity in the spot market for Bitcoin, and certain features of the ETF itself.

The exchange also argued that allowing trading in a Bitcoin ETF would limit risk to investors by giving them access to a regulated and transparent exchange-traded vehicle.

However, the commission concluded that the exchange didn’t establish that there are adequate safeguards against manipulation.

The regulator also stressed that its disapproval “does not rest on an evaluation of whether Bitcoin, or blockchain technology more generally, has utility or value as an innovation or an investment.”

Rather, the SEC rejected the proposed rule change because “BZX has not met its burden to demonstrate that its proposal is consistent with the requirements” of securities rules, it said.

The SEC’s reluctance to allow Bitcoin ETFs runs counter to the Canadian authorities, which approved Bitcoin and other crypto-based ETFs earlier this year.

A couple of ETFs based on Bitcoin futures have been allowed to start trading in the U.S. this year.