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Fidelity lobbies SEC to approve Bitcoin ETF in private meeting

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Multinational financial services firm Fidelity Investments has pressed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to approve its Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (EFT).

A private meeting was held on Sept. 8 between Fidelity Digital Assets President Tom Jessop, six of the firm’s executives and several SEC officials. The finance executives laid out a number of reasons why the regulator should approve the investment product. These include increased demand for digital assets and related products, the prevalence of similar funds in other countries, and the rise of Bitcoin adoption.

A Fidelity presentation from the meeting outlining the benefits of a Bitcoin product stated that global developed market regulators have approved Bitcoin exchange-traded products (ETPs) in Canada, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.

In response to SEC chair Gary Gensler’s comments last month on the possibility of reviewing only BTC futures products, Fidelity argued that strict adherence to either a 1933 law allowing stock exchanges to list the products, or allowing futures only products, was not necessary because the market has matured.

The Securities Act of 1933 was passed following the stock market crash of 1929 in order to protect investors by establishing laws against misrepresentation and fraudulent activities. Fidelity believes that these laws are too stringent and markets are now more transparent and established.

“We believe Bitcoin futures-based products are not a necessary interim step before a Bitcoin ETP; firms should be able to meet investor demand for direct exposure to Bitcoin […] through ETPs because the Bitcoin market has matured and can support them.”

It also argued that the market has already reached “significant size” and has deep liquidity as defined by the SEC’s own standards.

Fidelity filed for a Bitcoin exchange-traded product called the Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust in March 2021, and more than 20 similar applications from other firms have been made since, yet the regulator continues to procrastinate.

The Bitwise Bitcoin Strategy ETF is the latest to be lodged in the SEC’s lengthening application queue following a filing on Sept. 14.

Related: Fidelity’s crypto ambitions are bigger than expected

Fidelity Digital Assets continues to expand its operations despite regulatory red tape. The firm plans to increase its crypto asset employee numbers by up to 70% by the end of the year according to Bloomberg.

The SEC is doing things at its own lethargic pace, having postponed VanEck’s proposed Bitcoin Trust ETF for the third time this year on the same day as the meeting with Fidelity, delaying the decision date until Nov. 14.

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