Gary Gensler, the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has suggested a potential shift in the regulatory approach to spot Bitcoin exchange-traded products (ETFs). In a recent interview with CNBC, Gensler acknowledged the existence of "between eight and a dozen filings" for spot Bitcoin ETFs and mentioned a reevaluation of the SEC's stance based on recent court rulings.
Gensler alluded to the fact that the SEC had previously denied several applications for spot Bitcoin ETFs, but the courts had provided some guidance on the matter. The comments followed a court decision overturning the SEC's denial of an ETF offering from Grayscale Investments in August. While Gensler did not explicitly mention Grayscale, his remarks hinted at a potential reassessment prompted by recent legal developments.
When asked about the specific court ruling, Gensler refrained from providing details, emphasizing that the SEC operates within the framework established by Congress and interpreted by the courts. The SEC chair's comments have fueled speculation that the regulatory stance on Bitcoin ETFs may be evolving.
Multiple asset management firms, including BlackRock, Fidelity, Grayscale, Invesco, VanEck, and Valkyrie, have submitted applications for spot Bitcoin ETFs. Despite delays in the approval process, analysts anticipate a potential batch approval in early January 2024.
In a separate interview with Bloomberg, Gensler avoided discussing the number of spot Bitcoin ETF filings and redirected the conversation toward recent changes in the U.S. treasury market, highlighting the agency's current priorities.
Responding to Gensler's remarks on X (formerly Twitter), U.S. Congressman Bryan Steil criticized the SEC chair for obfuscating details and suggested that the regulatory approach might be pushing cryptocurrency activities offshore.
Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart commented on Gensler's communication style, noting that the SEC chair rarely provides clear answers and is adept at hedging his words. The evolving dynamics around Bitcoin ETF approvals and the SEC's considerations are closely watched by the cryptocurrency industry and traditional financial markets.