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SEC halts trading of cryptocurrencies bitcoin, ethereum due to confusion

By Nicholas Sakelaris
SEC halts trading of cryptocurrencies bitcoin, ethereum due to confusion
Bitcoin Tracker One and Ether Tracker One were both temporarily suspended by the SEC Sunday. File Photo by Nata-Lia/Shutterstock/UPI

Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Trading of two cryptocurrencies have been temporarily suspended because they are not identified correctly and could mislead consumers, federal regulators said.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission suspended the trading of Bitcoin Tracker One and Ether Tracker One until Sept. 20 to give exchange XBT Provider time to clear up confusion about the nature of both cryptocurrencies.

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"It appears ... that there is a lack of current, consistent and accurate information," the SEC said in a filing Sunday. "The commission is of the opinion that the public interest and the protection of investors require a suspension of trading in the securities."

Both cryptocurrencies are listed on XBT Provider websites and applications as exchange-traded funds that track a basket of assets. In reality, they're non-equity linked certificates. XBT Provider is owned by London-based investment firm CoinShares.

The SEC warned that the ban will be strictly enforced.

"If any broker or dealer enters any quotation which is in violation of the rule, the commission will consider the need for prompt enforcement action," the {link:agency said : "https://www.sec.gov/litigation/suspensions/2018/34-84063.pdf" target="_blank"}.

The SEC has been under pressure from investors to allow exchange-traded funds on the stock market but has so far rejected every proposal.

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The SEC decision could increase the already volatile cryptocurrency market, with Bitcoin trading up 1.6 percent in Monday trading.

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