CFTC Chairman Confirms That Just Like Bitcoin, Ethereum Is Also a Commodity

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CFTC Chairman Confirms That Just Like Bitcoin, Ethereum Is Also a Commodity
The CFTC chairman confirmed that Ethereum qualifies to be a commodity and all the forked assets like the Ethereum Classic shall be subjected to similar regulatory considerations.
CFTC Chairman Confirms That Just Like Bitcoin, Ethereum Is Also a Commodity

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Source: CoinSpeaker

VanEck’s Limited Bitcoin ETF Loses Steam, Manages to Issue Only 4 Bitcoins

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VanEck’s Limited Bitcoin ETF Loses Steam, Manages to Issue Only 4 Bitcoins
The VanEck’s Limited Bitcoin ETF has proved unimpressive so far with only 4 BTC tokens issued. Some crypto experts have also slammed VanEck for its marketing gimmick saying the product is nowhere close to real ETF.
VanEck’s Limited Bitcoin ETF Loses Steam, Manages to Issue Only 4 Bitcoins

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This Cryptocurrency Plunges 75% Over SEC Security View – Is Ripple’s XRP Next?

The SEC has filed an emergency lawsuit against Reginald Middleton, Verisatium Inc., and Verisatium LLC. to prevent them from spending the money raised from their ICO. The SEC has claimed that the entire ICO which raised about $14.8 million was a scam.
The people behind VERI tokens created a facade of massive proportions, while no real project or business was backing its value. The SEC filing recorded,
Defendants knowingly misled investors about their prior business venture and the use of offering proceeds
The court has granted a temporary restraining order to freeze the multiple bank accounts and Ethereum wallets. Reportedly, $8 million worth in assets from the ICO is still left in the firm.
In reality, VERI are securities, as the substance of the Offering shows, including, forexample, in Middleton’s statements that “today’s roughly $3.30 purchase of VERI tokens could yield ($3.30 x 5,000%) = $165” and that “purchase of Veritas goes directly to fund” the business.
These statements are presented as proof that Reginald ran a firm and sold company securities as an ICO. Moreover, the project and the revenue model behind his claims were false as well. The defendants also exaggerated their amount raised in the ICO to $35 million to mislead the investors.
The SEC has filed a detailed case listing all the claims made by Middleton and by portals from Verisatium.
Verisatium [VERI] plummeted from $16 to $3.77, losing 76.5% of its during the last day as SEC put the hammer on the unregistered ICO.
VERI/USD Chart on Coinmarketcap 
Ever since its release, the volatility in VERI has been extreme. The cryptocurrency reached an All-Time High of $538. Nevertheless, currently, it is trading at around $6.
The SEC claims that Reginald Middleton and Verisatium created a huge illusion on false claims to drive up the price of their unregistered security.
Investors File Case Against Ripple for Misleading Investors
Investors in XRP has filed a similar complaint in California’s Federal Court against Ripple Inc. Investor Bradley Sostack has been named the lead plaintiff of the filling. While Susman Godfrey and Tayler-Copeland Law are the co-lead counsel on the case.
They have filed a class-action suit on Ripple which if accepted by the court would entitle them to represent all XRP investors, who according to them, were misled by Ripple.
 
Ripple Class Action Lawsuit Complaint filling (Source)
Lawyers Jake Chervinsky and Rebecca Rettig elaborated on the case to the media and also substantiated Ripple’s chances. According to Chervinsky and Rettig, the case comes under both Federal Laws and California State Laws.
No Federal Laws have been broken until now because cryptocurrencies do not fall under the precedence of SEC’s Howey Test. However, the plaintiff’s lawyers have claimed that according to the SEC’s ‘framework’ on ICO, Ripple and its subsidiaries should be charged under unregistered security laws.
Nevertheless, “frameworks” are not enforceable by the law; this is the first time a framework will be used to get a judgment from the court. Rettig added,
“Although the framework on its own doesn’t have precedential value… it will be very interesting to see how the court handles the utility of the framework in moving forward in determining whether XRP is a security.”
Moreover, California State law presents added advantage to plaintiff claims on the pretext of ‘risk capital test.’ Chervinsky said,
“For the first time, the plaintiffs now claim that Ripple violated California’s false advertising and unfair competition laws by making fraudulent statements about the genesis, circulating supply, and adoption of XRP,”
Furthermore, he also added that the plaintiff has a “strong case,” and Susman Godfrey is one of the best plaintiff’s lawyer.
Plaintiff’s Doing SEC’s job for them?
The SEC has delayed all many decisions related to cryptocurrencies beginning with the ETF proposal on Bitcoin. However, the amendment to the securities laws or inclusion of digital tokens is still under progress.
The SEC has issued guidelines on the digital assets saying that,
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Howey case and subsequent case law have found that an “investment contract” exists when there is the investment of money in a common enterprise with a reasonable expectation of profits to be derived from the efforts of others.
According to the plaintiff’s claims, Ripple and XRP’s efforts were tied closely to their success. These claims might be valid as, during the initial phases of Ripple, XRP was considered mainly as a token of Ripple. They were even recognized as Ripple (XRP) on many platforms.
 
The plaintiffs have used claims on Twitter and other PR methods that Ripple used to mislead the customers on XRP. Jake Chervinsky noted,
“I’ve never seen so many citations to Twitter in a complaint before,”
Tweets and public statements from leading Ripple executives have been cited in the filling. The plaintiff aims to draw a correlation between their false marketing on XRP to run Ripple. Hence, using Ripple as the security of the company.
While the SEC itself cracked down on Verisatium and Reginald Middleton, in Ripple’s case, the investors have taken the initiative. Ripple has a 45-day window to either refute the claims or enter into dialogue with the SEC.
Do you think that courts will grant the class action suit status to the case or Ripple will seek to resort things with the SEC? Please share your views with us. 
The post This Cryptocurrency Plunges 75% Over SEC Security View – Is Ripple’s XRP Next? appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

For the First Time Ever SEC Approves Blockstack Token Sale Under Regulation A+

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For the First Time Ever SEC Approves Blockstack Token Sale Under Regulation A+
SEC, for the first time ever, approved a $28 million Reg A+ offering for decentralized Internet company Blockstack. The company will begin selling the SEC-approved tokens, essentially an investment vehicle for fundraising, as of today.
For the First Time Ever SEC Approves Blockstack Token Sale Under Regulation A+

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Is XRP a Security? It Seems There Will be No Answer Any Time Soon

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Is XRP a Security? It Seems There Will be No Answer Any Time Soon
According to the investigation lawyer from global law firm Kober & Kim, Jake Chervinsky, it will take more than a year to understand whether Ripple’s XRP is a security or not. Here’s why.
Is XRP a Security? It Seems There Will be No Answer Any Time Soon

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Source: CoinSpeaker

US Lawyer Compares Crypto Lending Firm BlockFi With 2017 ICOs

Cryptocurrency is on the upfront bulletins of almost every industry – as such a lending platform, BlockFi hit a new announcement introducing the compound interest rate to be paid in cryptocurrency – Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Crypto Interest Account
Accordingly, New-York based BlockFi published a blog post on March 04, 2019, announcing the launch of a new cryptocurrency account that supports two largest cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Per the announcement, the account bears 6 percent annual interest that would be further paid in mentioned cryptocurrencies. In addition to this, monthly interest earned on an amount deposited will be then turned into compound interest, resulting in 6.2 percent annually. Nevertheless, it’s worth to add that its custodial solution is taken care of by Winklevoss’s Gemini Trust Company.

BlockFi offering 6.2% on both BTC and ETH deposits changes the game. Will be interesting to see if/how centralized crypto deposit takers and lenders impact #DeFi volumes overtime. A thread:
— Ryan Todd (@_RJTodd) March 5, 2019

Indirect War
While crypto enthusiasts perceive it as a potential way to increase the wealth, on the other hand, lawyers like Jake Chervinsky compares it with the ICO ecosystem. In his latest tweet, an indirect message that would direct you think on BlockFi’s part states;
If you think crypto lending platforms enable you to become a risk-free creditor & collect interest on any size loan at several hundred basis points above the target federal funds rate in perpetuity, then I have a bridge to sell you.
On top of all, in his continuous response to the conversation, he also claimed that the concept is capturing the crowd as ICO does in the year 2017. To note, there were many ICOs introduced and disappeared shortly when Bitcoin peaked to almost $20k in 2017.

In his words;

One would hope, but I’ve seen more than one marketing effort trying to push this idea on the same crowd that threw money at ICOs in 2017.
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) March 5, 2019

It’s worth to add that many crypto enthusiasts didn’t support his view, in a similar context, one such user, Fontaine (@Fonta1n3) explains;
I think BlockFi provides a great service that allows anyone to obtain USD denominated loans at reasonable rates and earn interest denominated in BTC. Everything has a risk but if we are going to democratize finance this is a step forward. Financialization network effect starting.
Pomp and Mike Novogratz are BlockFi’s Investors
To note, the industry’s most influential figures are already the investor in BlockFi – this was revealed when a user doubt it as a pyramid scheme. To clarify user’s doubt, Morgan Creek’s Anthony Pompliano reveals that he himself and Mike Novogratz are the investors in BlockFi. However, the amount invested in the platform is out of sight but Pomp claimed that this is a custodial service. He says;

This is a custodial service that pays interest. Definitely possible to pay 6% and in fact, there are plenty of retail and institutional investors who have been using the product and getting paid already 🙂
— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) March 5, 2019

What’s your view on BlockFi? Do you agree with Jake or are you optimistic as Pomp? Share your thoughts with us.
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Source: CoinGape

Ripple Security Case: The Decision May Still Take Some Time To Come Says Lawyer Chervinsky

One of the most awaited legal judgments that the crypto world is waiting for is the case pertaining to Ripple(XRP) being security or not. But according to the latest update put forward by Lawyer Chervinsky, the wait could just get a little longer as the presiding judge has vacated the next week’s case management conference.
Will Ripple’s wait gets over in February or will it stretch longer?
Well, the debate whether Ripple is a security or not could stretch a little longer as the next case management conference for the case(s) with respect to Ripple being security or not has been vacated by presiding judge Hamilton. This update came as a tweet from Jake Chervinsky, who is a lawyer himself and is keeping a close eye on the Ripple case along with many other cases where cryptos are involved.

Ripple litigation update:
Today, Judge Hamilton heard oral argument on the plaintiffs' motions to remand & decided to cancel next week's case management conference. This implies her decision will take a while … or the case is going back to state court.https://t.co/L9kRmRv500
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) February 14, 2019

Chervinsky has sighted a variety of reasons why Judge Hamilton could have canceled the hearing. According to him, Judge Hamilton might need some time to think over her decision or she may just move this case back to the state court. While Chevinsky says these reasons could be a probability, things could be as light as “so the parties wouldn’t have to show up again next week. Or maybe she’s going out of town”

It also could mean nothing at all. Maybe Judge Hamilton decided to handle the case management conference today so the parties wouldn't have to show up again next week. Or maybe she's going out of town.
I'm watching for a quick decision though, maybe by the end of February.
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) February 14, 2019

He believes if there is a quick decision coming it could only be as early as the end of February.
Ripple has been amidst debate for quite some time regarding it being security or not because of the centralization claims. Currently, it is defending one lawsuit which is a combination of three cases in California courts which include  Two state cases in San Mateo County, brought by plaintiffs Zakinov & Oconer and one federal case in the Northern District of California, brought by Greenwald.
Initially, Ripple had four cases are security class actions and all of the cases allege Ripple for the same thing that is XRP is security and Ripple violated state & federal law by failing to register it before offering, promoting, and selling it to retail investors.
An excerpt investor Zakinov class action lawsuit complaints the following
“XRP, despite its name as a ‘token,’ is actually security under California law. In particular: (i) Ripple uses the funds it raised from the sale of XRP to fund its business ventures; (ii) the Company indiscriminately offers XRP for sale to the public at large; (iii) plaintiff and the Class (as defined herein) are effectively powerless to control the success of Ripple and XRP; and (iv) plaintiff and the Class members’ investment is substantially at risk and is without any security.”
But in November 2018, Attorneys for Ripple Labs and its affiliated defendants filed to move a consolidated class-action lawsuit from its previous venue at the San Mateo Superior Court to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California as the consolidated suit matches the requirements for a case to be brought before the higher, federal court. This consolidation clubbed the three cases filed by plaintiffs Avner Greenwald, David Oconer and Vladi Zakinov while the fourth suit filed by Ryan Coffey was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff, though Ripple’s attorneys later filed to have it related to Zakinov’s suit.
While the debate is still on, everyone has their eyes stuck on to judge Hamilton’s next move. It would all joys on the street for XRP if the case goes in favor of Ripple but if it goes against it or moves back to state courts it could see a knee jerk sell-off.
Will Ripple get a decision soon or will the wait continue? Do let us know your views on the same.
The post Ripple Security Case: The Decision May Still Take Some Time To Come Says Lawyer Chervinsky appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

CBOE’s Revised ETF Proposal likely Enclose SEC’s Guidelines – Says US Attorney

Since CBOE has resubmitted its Bitcoin Exchange traded fund (ETF) in a joint proposal with VanEck and SolidX, it is likely that the revised proposal contains all aspects that the SEC shared them previously.
Revised Filing Might Contain SEC’s Concern
Jake Chervinsky, a lawyer and US Government Defense Counsel who shares frequent updates regarding SEC on crypto regulations, ETF and other such updates also talks about the revised proposal of CBOE. In response to a question that asked ‘if the revised submission’ contains any new or tweaked information, he says; ‘yes, it looks like’.

I haven't had time to go through the proposal in detail yet, but it looks like they incorporated a lot of updates & changes reflecting concerns that the SEC shared with them during the last cycle.
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) January 31, 2019

However, the re-submission announcement hit the market when Gabor Gubacs, digital asset strategy head at VanEck shared a tweet on Jan 31, 2019. It is noticed that the new filing comes exactly a week after it had withdrawn the proposal following the US Govt shutdown.

The VanEck SolidX Bitcoin ETF proposed rule-change has been submitted by CBOE. Hard work by all teams involved. Public document: https://t.co/X25lOPjiFS pic.twitter.com/C9FP4adDE8
— Gabor Gurbacs (@gaborgurbacs) January 31, 2019

Will SEC Approve VanEck’s New Filing?
Moreover, if the filing is approved by SEC, it will enable Cboe BZX exchange to list shares of bitcoin ETF trust. As far as the approval is considered, there is no difference with the timeline as to when SEC will announce its decision. Because it has yet to publish the proposal in the Federal Register to proceed further. In similar regards, Jake says that;
It’s the same timeline as always. First, we have to wait for the SEC to publish the proposal in the Federal Register, and then we’ll know all the dates and deadlines from there.
When the proposal withdrew on Jan 23, 2019, the CEO, Van Eck indicates the reason behind pulling off the application is ‘Government shutdown’. However, the SEC declared February 27 as the probable date to wrap up the decision about the rule change. As per Jake, it is not possible to finalize anything before the deadline but he is quite optimistic that the VanEck ETF to be the first ETF to get approval from the SEC.

It's not impossible that the SEC could make a decision before the final deadline, but as I've said since the first VanEck ETF was proposed last July, I would be very surprised if the SEC approves the first ever bitcoin ETF without taking the maximum amount of time allowed by law.
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) January 31, 2019

Nevertheless, Jake continued that CBOE’s decision for new filing is not a waste of time. Indeed it is quite improved. We would more likely receive final deadline in early October, he says.

The timeline for the SEC’s decision won’t be set until the proposal is published in the Federal Register, but assuming that happens soon, we’re looking at a final deadline in early October. Jake tweeted while quoting VanEk’s revised ETF tweet.

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Source: CoinGape

Bitcoin ETF will not be automatically approved due to US government shutdown, says litigation attorney

Bitcoin [BTC]’s ETF approval has been a long-standing saga plagued with a lot of ups and downs. While proponents of the cryptocurrency have been trying hard to get it off the ground, the Securities and Exchanges Commission [SEC] of the United States has ensured that the decision remains postponed.
As it stands, the deadline for the decision is February 27, a date that some think will be reviewed because of the ongoing US government shutdown imposed by Donald Trump. Jake Chervinsky, a recognized lawyer and a government enforcement securities litigation attorney, gave his views on the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF by tweeting:
“The VanEck/SolidX bitcoin ETF won’t be automatically approved just because the US government is shut down. I’ve seen a lot of confusion & misinformation about how the shutdown affects the SEC and its process for handling ETF proposals. I’ll try to explain here.”
Chervinsky stated that the February 27 deadline is imposed by Federal statute, which means that the government shutdown does not affect it all. Being under the federal statute, the current law imposed on the Bitcoin ETF stands if the government functions or not.
He further stated that another power of the statute is prohibiting the SEC from changing the deadline in any capacity. This caveat theoretically implies that if left undecided, the Bitcoin ETF gets automatically approved.
The lawyer went on to say that such a situation was utopian and that the SEC still had a workforce toiling to carry out its stipulated processes. In his words:
“It’s true that the SEC has stopped nearly all of its work due to the shutdown & furloughed most of its employees. That includes the majority of staff members in the Division of Trading & Markets, which handles proposed rule changes.”
He carried on by saying:
“But the SEC still has a small number of staff members available to handle “excepted” functions, which mostly refers to urgent law enforcement matters, but also includes “activities necessary for a short period in order to ensure an orderly shutdown of operations.”
Jake Chervinsky opined that the remaining officials will ensure commodities such as the Bitcoin ETF will be blocked from being automatically approved, pointing to the January event where the SEC extended a deadline related to Nasdaq PHLX.
He stated that in case the Bitcoin ETF gets approved, then there are two things that could happen; either the SEC will let the auto-approval occur because it had already approved it earlier or the remaining workforce in the SEC will not be allowed to function.
Furthermore, Chervinsky thinks that if the government shutdown extends all the way till February 27, the chance of the Bitcoin ETF getting approved is negligible.  This statement was based off the SEC’s rule on Page 18, which says:
“The SEC will discontinue “review and approval of applications for registration . . . with respect to new financial products.”
He closed his argument by stating that due to the shutdown, the odds of the Bitcoin ETF getting rejected was much higher than that of it getting approved. Chervinsky also gave his comment on Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt by saying:
“Unlike the SEC, the CFTC has no statutory deadline for making a decision on Bakkt, so it can delay as long as it wants. Don’t expect anything on Bakkt until after the shutdown (maybe months after).”
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Source: AMB Crypto

Ongoing U.S. Shutdown Casts Shadow on VanEck Bitcoin ETF Approval

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Ongoing U.S. Shutdown Casts Shadow on VanEck Bitcoin ETF Approval

American lawyer Jake Chervinsky explains that despite the U.S. shut down the SEC has provision to act on VanEck Bitcoin ETF. However, ETF executives remain confident.

Ongoing U.S. Shutdown Casts Shadow on VanEck Bitcoin ETF Approval

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Source: CoinSpeaker

Year-Long Crypto Winter Increases Lay Off, Turning Former Employees to Whistleblowers

As the market continues to experience the declining graph, some major crypto companies have announced the plan to start a massive round of layoffs. The latest tweet by Jake Chervinsky, a government enforcement defense lawyer, indicates ‘more layoffs in near future and it may turn former employees to become whistleblowers’.
The tweet reads;

As the bear market deepens, more crypto companies will have to lay off employees to keep the lights on.
This creates a new risk: disgruntled former employees often become whistleblowers, especially if they have valuable intel that entitles them to an SEC or CFTC bounty reward.
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) December 29, 2018

Crypto Industry Wide Layoffs
Recently, two of the world’s largest market players, Huobi (cryptocurrency exchange ) and Bitmain Technologies (Cryptocurrency mining chip maker) appeared on bulletins to lay off their staff for various reasons. The official announcement of Bitmain’s lay off on December 17, 2018, states that;
“It’s affirmative. The layoff will start next week and involves more than 50 percent of the entire Bitmain’s headcount.”
In like manner, Huobi’s lay off was discussed on social media and it reveals;

Overexpansion is a common problem in bubbleish cycle. Comparing with its competitors, Bitmain’s 3000 ppl army before the layoff is very clumsy, 80% of their personnel were hired in 2018.
Another weight loss exercise is coming up for another big firm – Huobi. Details 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/z3kbogMvdt
— Dovey Wan 🦖 (@DoveyWan) December 27, 2018

Since Bitcoin has reached to a bottom of the graph, major firms are stepping ahead to optimize their staff but at the same time, ‘it can create a new risk’. However, Jake’s analysis states that these employees will have a potential opportunity ‘if they have valuable intel that entitles them to an SEC or CFTC bounty reward’. Very soon the tweet was engaged with numerous opinions from crypto enthusiasts.
CFTC’s Bounty to Encourage Whistleblowers
Moreover, in early 2018, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced a new bounty to encourage ‘whistleblowers’ who can be vocal about ‘pump-and-dump’ schemes happening within the firm. CFTC’s announcement further read;
“If you have original information that leads to a successful enforcement action that leads to monetary sanctions of $1 million or more, you could be eligible for a monetary award of between 10 percent and 30 percent.”

Interestingly, the former employees of crypto firms (those were in connection with ‘pump-dump- scheme’) might become whistleblowers to enjoy bounties by regulators like CFC and SEC.
So, do you think the lay off will occur across other crypto firms as well? What’s your stake of a prolonged bear market in cryptocurrencies? Let’s share!
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Source: CoinGape

VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF May Be In Danger says Crypto-lawyer Jake Chervinsky

For the most part of 2018 Bitcoin ETF was considered the component that would trigger the next bull run in cryptos as it was believed to open floodgates of institutional monies into cryptocurrencies. But the way SEC has dealt with the various ETF applications, chances of Bitcoin ETF to be approved anytime soon looked meek. With few applications already rejected, all eyes were now on VanEck and SolidX Bitcoin ETF application but according to renowned Crypto Lawyer Jake Chervinsky, even that looks in danger considering the current crypto scenario.
Chevinsky says manipulation issue could hand another Bitcoin ETF rejection
Jake Chevinsky, a renowned lawyer and cryptocurrency commentator, send out a series of tweets where he has believed the market scenarios for cryptocurrencies are still not well in place for a Bitcoin ETF to go through. These tweets from Chevinsky comes in the backdrop, where SEC has pushed the decision to February 27, 2019.

0/ Last week, the SEC delayed its decision on the VanEck/SolidX bitcoin ETF for the last time. With a *final* deadline set for February 27, let’s discuss:
– key updates from the past few months
– how to interpret this delay
– my prediction on what the SEC will decide
Thread. 👇
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) December 10, 2018

According to Jake’s 20-tweet thread, whose central thesis, revolves around the major concern of the SEC: the manipulation of the bitcoin prices on unregulated exchanges. Chervinsky sees the most important of the questions raised by the SEC in its comments on the ongoing VanEck decision as being related to whether the exchange proposing to host the ETF, the Chicago-based CBoE, has “a surveillance-sharing agreement with a regulated market of significant size.”  But doesn’t seem to be in place yet and the manipulation query still remains unsolved.
Jake’s comments cannot be ignored as he is a renowned name in US legal corridors as he represents individual and corporate clients in high-stakes government enforcement actions and financial services disputes. He focuses on litigation involving securities, commodities, futures, and other derivatives. He has particular experience handling investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission regarding allegations of fraud, market manipulation, and other regulatory violations. Recently, He is a leading commentator on legal issues related to the blockchain industry and is frequently quoted by prominent media outlets on developments in the cryptocurrency space.
While all eyes will be on the February 27, Jake’s points are pretty critical and definitely could put curtains to the much-awaited Bitcoin ETF. Although its negative impact may not be very drastic now as it could have been a few months back but definitely there will a knee-jerk sell-off if ETF doesn’t go through.
Will the SEC approve the Bitcoin ETF in February 2019? DO let us know your views on the same
 
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Source: CoinGape