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Gensler says SEC staff is working on Bitcoin ETF proposals

on Oct 18, 2023
  • SEC Chair Gary Gensler commented on the spot Bitcoin ETF proposals in an interview on Wednesday.
  • He said the SEC staff are working on the proposals.
  • The crypto market expects the SEC to eventually approve a spot Bitcoin ETF.

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US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler has commented on the multiple Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposals before the agency by noting that its staff is “working” on them.

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Gensler commented on the topic of Bitcoin ETFs on Wednesday during an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Kailey Leinz.

SEC continues to weigh Bitcoin ETF proposals

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BlackRock, Fidelity Investments and Invesco are among several asset managers and investment firms looking to list spot Bitcoin ETFs in the US. But the SEC, despite giving a nod to futures-backed ETFs for the market, has delayed decisions on these applications multiple times. Anticipation for a spot ETF could explain the reaction to what turned out to be fake news of an approval on Monday.

Yet, consensus within the crypto space is that the regulator will eventually have to allow – one or all of the proposals. In August, the SEC lost to Grayscale Investments after a US court vacated the agency’s order rejecting the firm’s proposal to convert its Bitcoin Trust fund (GBTC) to a spot Bitcoin ETF.

In today’s interview, Gensler acknowledged the securities watchdog did not appeal the decision as of Friday. While he remained cagey on what the Commission’s next steps were, he did comment on the ongoing review process.

“We didn’t appeal last Friday, I think that’s accurate… but what we have in front of us, just so that the viewing public understands, we have not one but multiple – I think it’s eight or 10 – filings that the staff and ultimately the commission is considering for what’s called exchange traded products for Bitcoin.”

Asked about whether the commission would approve one spot ETF or all at the same time, the SEC chair said he could not “prejudge” the staff’s work. Noting that companies looking to list exchange-traded products like the Bitcoin spot ETF have to go through a listing process similar to the one for an IPO, Gensler added:

“It’s really the work of our Division of Corporation Finance that gives feedback, our Division of Trading and Markets of course looks at the filings.”

Gensler said he doesn’t have any details on the individual conversations between the staff and the potential issuers. On the issue of whether recent feedback between the SEC and the issuers pointed to any particular asset manager getting the first nod, he noted that its “a time tested process that goes back decades.”

That part of the process is handled by a the Disclosure Review Team of the SEC staff. It’s the group that responds to and gives feedback to potential ETF issuers.

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