September 7, 2017 / 9:10 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. firm backing ether-based ETF says to refile listing application

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. firm behind an effort to start an exchange-traded fund based on the cryptocurrency ether said on Thursday it planned to refile an application to list the security on Intercontinental Exchange Inc’s NYSE Arca exchange after an initial filing was withdrawn.

NYSE withdrew the application with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to list the EtherIndex Ether Trust ETF on Wednesday, according to a regulatory filing. The withdrawal came after EtherIndex LLC, which would issue the fund’s shares, amended its registration filing for the ETF on Tuesday.

The delay “is a timing issue and not at all a reflection of our commitment to the product,” Joseph Quintilian, chief financial officer of EtherIndex, said in an email.

The SEC began proceedings in April on whether to approve the ETF and was due to make a decision by Sept. 20.

EtherIndex will refile the application “the moment we see the appropriate developments in the marketplace,” said Quintilian, who is also a partner at Axiom Markets LLC, a futures trading firm he co-founded in 2005 with Virtu Financial founder Vincent Viola. He did not give more details.

A spokeswoman for NYSE declined to comment.

Ether is a digital commodity based on the value token of the blockchain of the peer-to-peer Ethereum computer network, and the ETF would provide shareholders with exposure to the daily change in the U.S. dollar price of the token.

The rapid rise in value of cryptocurrencies this year has driven fears of a bubble that could burst. That, along with a number of massive cybersecurity breaches affecting digital currency holders and the lack of consistent treatment of the assets by governments has caught the attention of regulators.

In April, the SEC said it would review an earlier decision to block the listing of the first U.S. ETF tracking the cryptocurrency bitcoin, on CBOE Holdings Inc’s Bats exchange. [nL1N1HX17H]

And in July the regulator said tokens issued through initial coin offerings (ICOs), where digital currencies based on blockchain technologies are sold publicly and then traded on secondary exchanges, can be considered securities.

That means ICOs would fall under laws that require disclosures and are subject to regulatory scrutiny to protect investors, unless a “valid exemption” applies.

China on Monday banned ICOs, which have raised $2.16 billion this year, and have helped fuel the rapid rise in value of cryptocurrencies. The move caused the prices of ether and bitcoin to tumble. [nL4N1LL2S9]

Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Andrew Hay

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