Spot Ether ETFs are now officially legal in the US: Law Decoded

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Spot Ether ETFs are now officially legal in the US: Law Decoded
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In a second landmark decision this year, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has given the regulatory green light to spot Ether exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the country.

The SEC approved the 19b-4 filings from VanEck, BlackRock, Fidelity, Grayscale, Franklin Templeton, ARK 21Shares, Invesco Galaxy and Bitwise, approving the rule changes allowing spot Ether (ETH) ETFs to be listed and traded on their respective exchanges.

Unlike the spot Bitcoin (BTC) ETFs approved via voting by a five-member committee including SEC Chair Gary Gensler, spot Ether ETFs were approved by the SEC’s Trading and Markets Division.

Another major difference between the approval processes of the two crypto ETFs is that all 10 BTC ETFs started trading the day after their approval, as they also got S-1 form clearance.

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Spot Ether ETFs might be weeks or months away from debuting on exchanges, as the ETF filers have yet to receive their S-1 SEC registration.

Hong Kong orders Worldcoin to freeze operations on the island

Hong Kong’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) has concluded its inquiry into the Worldcoin project, determining that its operations in Hong Kong violated its Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.

Privacy Commissioner Ada Chung Lai-ling issued an enforcement notice to Worldcoin, ordering the immediate halt of all project operations in Hong Kong that involve scanning and collecting irises and facial images of the public using iris scanning devices.

According to the PCPD, collecting face images was unnecessary for verifying the humanness of participants, as the iris scanning device operators were already capable of performing this verification in person at the operating locations, making the scanning or collection of face images an unnecessary step.

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Binance.US to reinstate Florida money services license

Binance.US has scored a victory in its appeal of the suspension of its money-services business license in Florida. The Florida First District Court of Appeal found the emergency suspension order issued by the state Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) lacked legal justification.

The suspension of the Binance.US Florida license came in response to Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao’s guilty plea in federal court on Nov. 21, 2023, to violating U.S. Anti-Money Laundering law.

The appeals court cited state law that determined the OFR “may” suspend a money-services business license “by any procedure that is fair under the circumstances” if the agency provides reasons to show the decision is fair. Further, the agency did not discuss less harsh alternatives to suspension.

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CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act passes US House

The CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in a largely partisan vote. The bill, which must still face a vote in the Senate, amends the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to prohibit Federal Reserve banks “from offering certain products or services directly to an individual, to prohibit the use of central bank digital currency for monetary policy, and for other purposes.”

The Republican-backed bill’s debate was sparsely attended. Republican supporters spoke about the potential abuse of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), while Democrats concentrated on innovation, the dollar’s international competitiveness and the bill’s allegedly poor drafting. Representative Brad Sherman called the bill a “word salad” that favored “crypto bros.”

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