Former SEC chair Jay Clayton has suggested that Bitcoin Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are likely to receive approval from U.S. securities regulators in the near future. In an interview with CNBC on September 1, Clayton acknowledged that the SEC had delayed decisions on several pending Bitcoin ETF proposals. However, he expressed confidence in the eventual approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF, citing the SEC’s previous approval of Bitcoin futures ETFs as a positive precedent.
The Challenging Role of the SEC
Clayton recognized the complexity of the SEC’s role in regulating cryptocurrencies. He acknowledged that when cryptocurrencies first emerged, many offerings were not compliant with securities laws. However, he emphasized that the landscape has evolved, with the emergence of crypto offerings that have “clearly shown promise.” The SEC now faces the task of evaluating these broader crypto offerings, including the potential approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF.
One significant statement made by Clayton was his assertion that Bitcoin is not a security. While he declined to comment on whether he would personally approve a spot Bitcoin ETF if still in charge of the SEC, his clarification on the classification of Bitcoin as a non-security is noteworthy. This distinction could potentially pave the way for the regulatory approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF.
Clayton expressed his belief that the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF is inevitable. He highlighted the dichotomy between futures products and cash products (such as a spot Bitcoin ETF), suggesting that this discrepancy cannot persist indefinitely. Clayton anticipates that the SEC will ultimately approve a spot Bitcoin ETF, considering the participation of large institutions and the existence of surveillance-sharing mechanisms. He noted that objections raised by the SEC in the past were primarily related to these aspects.
Reaction to Anthony Pompliano
Many of Clayton’s statements were in response to remarks made by Anthony Pompliano, who was also interviewed by CNBC on the same day. Pompliano expressed confidence in the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF, predicting that its introduction would result in significant inflows of billions of dollars.
Conclusion: The Future of Bitcoin ETFs
Despite the SEC’s postponement of decisions on pending Bitcoin ETFs, Jay Clayton’s outlook remains optimistic. He believes that the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF is on the horizon, given the evolving nature of the crypto landscape and the success of Bitcoin futures ETFs. While the exact timeline for approval remains uncertain, Clayton’s insights offer hope for proponents of a Bitcoin ETF and signal the potential for increased institutional participation in the cryptocurrency market.