Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Solidx’s Attempt to Disqualify SEC’s Bitcoin ETF Decision Fails

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced its decision to disapprove the proposed rule change filed by NYSE Arca to list and trade shares of Solidx Bitcoin Trust. This move came after Solidx Management LLC, the sponsor of Solidx Bitcoin Trust, submitted a comment letter to the Commission, attempting to differentiate the NYSE Arca’s situation from that of Bats BZX Exchange.

Also read: Examining SEC’s Decision to Reject Bitcoin ETF

Solidx Says Bats’ Rejection Does Not Apply

On March 10, the SEC made the decision to reject the listing of Coin on Bats BZX Exchange. The Commission primarily cited the main reasons as the lack of “surveillance-sharing agreements with significant markets for trading” of bitcoin and its finding that “the significant markets for bitcoin are unregulated”.

In an attempt to preemptively dissuade the SEC from using the Solidx's Attempt to Disqualify SEC's First Bitcoin ETF Decision Failssame reasons to reject Solidx Bitcoin Trust, on March 15, its sponsor sent a comment letter to the Commission. Solidx Management LLC got straight to the point and claimed that the SEC’s decision to reject Bats BZX Exchange’s proposed rule change for Coin “should not apply to the proposed rule change by the NYSE Arca”.

The reason which Solidx Management gave is that “the NYSE Arca proposed rule is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices and will promote investor protection and the public interest and is therefore consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Exchange Act”.

‘Surveillance is Not an Appropriate Prerequisite for the Approval’

Solidx's Attempt to Disqualify SEC's First Bitcoin ETF Decision FailsThe company acknowledged that the Commission abundantly cited how “surveillance sharing agreements provide an important deterrent to manipulation” throughout the Bats BZX Order.

While arguing that “the investor harm from potential manipulation is hypothetical in nature and unlikely”, Solidx Management asserted that “the harm to investors from a lack of access to an insured vehicle is overt and likely to continue in the absence of approval of the NYSE Arca proposed rule change”.

Moreover, the company wrote that an approval “would be in direct contravention of Section 6(b)(5)’s goal and purpose to protect investors and the public interest”, adding that:

It would undoubtedly be to the detriment of investors if the Commission were to prioritize surveillance agreements over protecting investors from ongoing losses related to hacking, errors and other operational hazards associated with direct bitcoin ownership.

In addition, it pointed out a precedence when the SEC approved a rule change for the ‘Euro Currency Trust’ in November 2005 where the underlying market was not surveilled. However, the Commission said that the circumstances surrounding the Euro Currency Trust were very different from those of Solidx Bitcoin Trust.

Bitcoin Markets Resilient to Manipulation

Throughout the Bats’ rejection order, the SEC asserted that bitcoin markets can be manipulated. While citing the Lewis Paper which it commissioned, Solidx Management claimed that “the bitcoin market as currently structured is resilient to manipulation”. In addition, it said that NYSE Arca’s proposed rule change “is designed to strengthen the bitcoin market’s resistance to manipulation even further”. The company also noted that:

The Trust [Solidx] may actually reduce the potential for fraud or manipulation of bitcoin.

As icing on the cake, Solidx Management told the SEC that “the requirements of Section 6(b)(5) concern the shares of the Trust and not bitcoin”. It then explained that “when shares of the Trust begin to trade on the NYSE Arca, the rules of the Exchange, as such rules will be applied to shares of the Trust, will indeed prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices and protect investors and the public interest”.

Comments Specifically Attack Coin ETF

Solidx's Attempt to Disqualify SEC's First Bitcoin ETF Decision FailsFurthermore, Solidx Management stated that “the public comments referenced by the Commission in the BZX Order are littered with hyperbolic personal attacks directed explicitly at the Winklevosses. Other comments disparage the Gemini exchange, including its trading volumes and pricing mechanisms”.

The company then proceeded to claim that “none of the comments, however, focus on investor protection and the public interest, and none, nor do they relate to the SolidX Bitcoin Trust”. As of March 24, the SEC has received 11 comment letters for this proposed rule change. The company told the Commission that:

With the exception of one commenter, all the comments concerning the Solidx Bitcoin Trust are positive, and highlight that shares of the Trust will promote investor protection and the public interest and prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices.

Denied by the SEC Anyway

Nonetheless, the SEC did not wait until the deadline, on March 30, to reveal its decision to reject NYSE Arca’s proposed rule change for Solidx. Its announcement on the morning of March 28 cites the same reasons given for rejecting Coin. The SEC wrote that:

“The Commission is disapproving this proposed rule change because it does not find the proposal to be consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Exchange Act, which requires, among other things, 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”.

Do you think Solidx Management made a good attempt at disqualifying the SEC’s previous decision? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, NYSE, Bats Global Markets, and Solidx


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The post Solidx’s Attempt to Disqualify SEC’s Bitcoin ETF Decision Fails appeared first on Bitcoin News.



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Welcome to WCN new podcast On The Record where we will be asking tough questions to those launching products in the Crypto Space. Host: Tone Vays Guest: Anthem Hayek Blanchard


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Bitcoin Helps People Circumvent Economic Sanctions in Iran

SEC Denies SolidX Bid for Bitcoin ETF Listing

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(+) How to Start Your Investment Portfolio: Is the Crypto Space the Place to Invest?

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Storj to Migrate Cloud Storage Service to Ethereum Blockchain from Counterparty over Bitcoin

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Could There Be a Blockchain Solution to High Prescription Drug Prices?

Prescription drugs are one of the biggest contributors to soaring healthcare costs in the U.S.  And for both individuals and families, particularly where multiple prescriptions are needed, drug expenses can quickly escalate to thousands of dollars.According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 8 in 10 Americans would like the government to negotiate prices for those on Medicare. Additionally, Americans want limits set on the amount drug companies can charge for high-cost drugs, such as those to treat cancer. Prescription costs for seniors seem to be garnering the most attention. Many on Medicare Part D experience what is known as the “doughnut hole,” a term that’s used to describe a medication coverage gap. All Part D patients begin each year with a deductible amount, which, once hit, triggers coverage for medications. However, when that coverage amount is exhausted, patients begin paying for their medications at the much higher retail rate — often 5 to 10 times the covered costs. The continued escalation of costs across all stratas of the U.S. population has been a key discussion point in efforts to revamp the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The prevailing message: drugs don’t work if patients can’t afford them. Even President Trump has chimed in, saying that drug companies are “getting away with murder.” And in a speech to Congress that garnered bipartisan support, he said that his administration and Congress should “should work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs and bring them down immediately.”Bringing Blockchain Technology Into the ConversationBrennan Bennett, a pharmacy point-of-care expert and editor of Blockchain Healthcare Review, says one of the biggest issues related to drug costs is the research and development expenses associated with every failed drug formulary. He notes that it can take nearly a decade and several billion dollars to bring a new drug to market, and that’s if the clinical trials and paperwork fall within average timetables. Moreover, formulary patents for those that make it through last 20 years, meaning there are no cost-effective off-brands to counterbalance the premium brand.Another major roadblock according to Bennett is the influence of pharma lobbyists on lawmakers, particularly with prescription issues that might involve some sort of legal stigmas. He cites for example a 2016 congressional action blocking the Veterans Administration from being able to prescribe medical cannabis for vets with injuries and PTSD, versus Oxycontin and Xanax, both of which are both highly addictive and expensive. But in his view the biggest issue in the whole prescription price debate is fraud. Says Bennett: “I heard at the recent Healthcare Blockchain Summit just this month that 1:100 drugs in America are counterfeit. I can’t say as to if that included over-the-counters, but, really, that would be irrelevant given the size and scope of this number.”He believes blockchain technology could play a valuable role in addressing this issue by integrating with Internet of Things (IoT) devices to ensure a tamper-proof model throughout the supply chain. Says Bennett: “To achieve this entire chain of custody with a blockchain security–enabled system, a big pharma company would need to deploy a permissioned blockchain to handle their own internal chain of custody. At that point, they could share data with other permissioned blockchains run by the organizations that transport and distribute the drugs.” Bennett believes that the biggest barriers to blockchain adoption in this space are IP security concerns. “Nobody wants to adopt just yet because the data governance capability that would allow collaboration among blockchain-enabled pharma systems to share the data needed to drive down costs is still relatively immature. IP security is directly correlated with network security. So an entanglement of permissioned blockchains would need serious security.”A Lack of Existing Major Players?In terms of promising blockchain use cases, Bennett remarked that is he not aware of any that are “end-to-end,” meaning molecular modeling to retail shelf. “I will be participating in a panel discussion at the Johns Hopkins campus in June that will specifically be addressing what a major player would need to bring to the table in order to address the enterprise pharmacy space. If any do exist, I hope they’ll consider sharing their knowledge.” He went on to note that there are plenty of applications being developed for specific pharmacy business operations in terms of interaction with other points of patient care, but that pharmacy supply chain management is going to have to integrate with a variety of blockchain applications to secure the whole process, the IoT being the biggest.Amid talk about blockchain advancements in the pharmaceutical industry, Bennett had this to say: “More and more of the patients in my pharmacy practice area are obtaining medications from Mexico and Canada. Patients are finding international pharmacies online. There are even organized bus trips across the border for drug purchases. I’ve even gotten reports from my patients of incredible savings on a brand-name product in the same packaging and same manufacturing plant. Why the costs to the American consumer are consistently at such an outrageously inflated rate compared with other countries is not well explained from any source I have found.” Bennett is hopeful that pharmacy physical supply chain management use cases will evolve rapidly, learning from and mimicking other current supply chain management blockchain examples involving tangible items, such as food. He states that a number of blockchain use cases are popping up that address specific choke points in pharmacy costs like clinical trials. “Overall, the conversion of precision science, blockchain platforms, smart contracts on permissioned networks and A.I is where I think we are going to see the next macro evolution in modern science. And frankly I believe there is no better place for pharma to lead the way.”The post Could There Be a Blockchain Solution to High Prescription Drug Prices? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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European Commission Proposes Blockchain Pilot Project to Improve Regulation

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Markets Update: Bitcoin’s Price Back in the 4-Digit Territory

Ether Price Analysis: Miners Are Bullish — But Prepare for Pullback

Over the past week, Ethereum (ETH) made another new all-time high (ATH), increasing its market capitalization to about one-fourth that of Bitcoin.ETH hashrate also continues to show new ATHs almost daily.This suggests that miners who would otherwise currently be mining at a loss believe in the future of the coin enough to continue spending infrastructure dollars adding to the hashrate. Similarly, Bitcoin’s periods of rapidly increasing hashrate also suggest a bullish medium- to long-term future.However, Ethereum technicals tell another story. Despite making a higher high in price, it has done so on less volume and on a decreasing Relative Strength Index (RSI), an oscillator measuring momentum. This suggests that bullish buying pressure is waning and the probability of a pullback is higher than the probability of continuation. In short, buyers are exhausted. Second, there is a Rising Wedge forming, a bearish reversal pattern seen at the top of a trend, with confluence of support near the 200 EMA and 50 percent Fibonacci retracement zone, ~$32. The distance from the 200 EMA also suggests price is due for a reset. This could also be interpreted as price being heavily overbought. It has not touched the 200 EMA since January 9.The descending volume profile also suggests this is a period of consolidation. Watch for confirmation of a break up or down from the Rising Wedge with a spike in volume. This pattern should break down but it does not mean breaking up is an impossibility. Last, a modified candlestick known as Heikin-Ashi is also showing decreased momentum in this price zone.Large green bars indicate strong bullish momentum, smaller green bars waning momentum and red bars a flip in momentum. The candles bringing price to the new ATH were not as strong as the previous candles. Again, this can be read as a type of bearish divergence with a higher high in price but with weakening momentum.Should a Bitcoin hard fork occur, ETH may be seen as a safe haven asset for the time being. If so, expect price to easily soar to between $65 and $80, according to the Fibonacci extensions of the entire trend.Summary1. ETH hashrate is growing at an explosive pace, indicating miners’ bullish confidence in ETH’s future.2. Price made a new ATH on weakening bullish momentum. Expect a pullback to ~$32, a zone with confluence of support, in the near to medium term over bullish continuation.3. Should a Bitcoin hard fork occur, expect this to be a bullish event for ETH with a Fibonacci extension target of $65–80.The post Ether Price Analysis: Miners Are Bullish — But Prepare for Pullback appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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