A former chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it is “inevitable” that a spot Bitcoin (BTC) ETF will be approved.
Speaking in a Jan. 8 interview with CNBC, former SEC chair Jay Clayton said that it is now a foregone conclusion that the SEC will approve the first spot Bitcoin ETF for trading in the United States.
“I think approval is inevitable. There’s nothing left to decide.”
For the last ten years, the SEC has denied every application for a spot Bitcoin ETF, citing concerns over potential market manipulation and fraud.
However, Clayton now agrees that an ETF approval is “imminent,” noting that the underlying market dynamics for Bitcoin have improved drastically over the last five years.
“Five years ago, there were wash sales, there was laddering, there were all sorts of things that you wouldn’t want to make available to the general public because of that risk,” he said.
Additionally, Clayton commended the regulator for being “where they are,” saying that it was a big step forward for the agency to be comfortable with the Bitcoin ETF disclosures from firms such as BlackRock and Fidelity.
He added that until now, there hadn’t been an adequate level of infrastructure to properly custody and secure Bitcoin in a way that made it accessible to traditional financial market participants.
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Outside of crypto markets specifically, Clayton praised the development of blockchain technology for its ability to tokenize and trade real-world assets.
“This is a big step, not just for Bitcoin, but for finance generally. If you can tokenize underlying assets and trade that way. That’s a potential significant change across finance, not just in the ‘crypto space.’”
A spate of amended S-1 and S-3 filings from prospective Bitcoin ETF issuers flooded into the SEC on Jan. 8, with issuers disclosing the fees they want to charge on their products following approval.
Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart said the influx of amended filings was a sign that the regulator was “accelerating things” for this week. Seyffart and his colleague Eric Balchunas have pinned the chances of a spot Bitcoin ETF at 90% by Jan. 10.
In a Jan. 9 post to X (formerly Twitter), Seyffart added that investors could expect further amendments to S-1 and S-3 filings in the following days following the SEC providing additional comments.
1. This is true, comments came back on those S-1 documents with the fees that we all went crazy over this morning (this isn’t out of ordinary)
2. Expect to see more amendments tomorrow because of this
3. That said — I don’t think this is necessarily a delay signal https://t.co/o2m0lIBSct
— James Seyffart (@JSeyff) January 9, 2024
Despite the back-and-forth of new amendments and comments, he said it was unlikely that these qualify as a “delay signal” for the ETFs.
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