Spot Bitcoin ETF Outlook Looking Brighter As Gensler Says SEC Is Taking ‘New Look' At Pending Applications

In a recent interview with CNBC, Gary Gensler, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman, alluded that his agency is rethinking its approach to spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETF) in light of a recent court ruling.

Has Gary Gensler Softened Stance On Spot Bitcoin ETFs?

The SEC is “taking a new look” at proposals for a spot Bitcoin ETF following October’s groundbreaking court ruling on Grayscale’s bid to transform its flagship GBTC into an ETF.

Speaking to CNBC on Dec. 14, Gensler noted that his commission is currently reviewing “between eight and a dozen” applications.

“We had in the past denied a number of these applications, but the courts here in the District of Columbia weighed in on that,” Gensler said. “And so we’re taking a new look at this based upon those court rulings.”

Gensler said he is not to “prejudge anything” as the SEC boss. He further claimed that everything at the agency is done “within the laws Congress has passed and how the courts interpret them.”

The SEC chair went on to reiterate his belief that the crypto market remains akin to the “wild west”, citing “fraud and bad actors” in the sector.

“There’s a lot of noncompliance, not only with the securities laws but other laws around any money laundering and protecting the public against bad actors there. And so I would note, this is a field where you still don’t have the fundamental information on many of these projects. And the intermediaries of the so-called crypto exchanges are commingling and doing things that we do not allow anywhere else in our financial system,” Gensler explained. 

SEC’s Long History Of Rejections

Although the SEC has allowed a slew of ETFs based on bitcoin futures to trade in the U.S., it has rejected all spot applications that have been submitted to date. But it seems like the tide is turning.

In October, the SEC was ordered to revisit Grayscale’s application to convert GBTC into a spot Bitcoin ETF after a panel of judges concluded that the regulator was “arbitrary and capricious” in its rejection.

Grayscale is hoping to get the regulatory nod in January, when the SEC decides whether to approve the launch of more than a dozen potential spot bitcoin ETFs, including that of BlackRock, Fidelity, Invesco, and Franklin Templeton, among others.

Recently, it was disclosed that the SEC has been engaging in active talks with spot BTC ETF contenders. Earlier this week, BlackRock revised its filing based on previous meetings with the SEC, making its ETF more accessible for Wall Street banks.

All these developments have boosted hopes among crypto enthusiasts that a spot Bitcoin ETF is nigh.

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