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Former SEC Chair Confident: Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval Inevitable Despite Delays

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Former SEC Chair Believes Approval for Bitcoin ETFs Will Happen


Following the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delaying decisions on several spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds, former commission chair Jay Clayton said he believed approval was still going to happen at some point.

Financial Institutions Backing Spot Bitcoin Investment

In a Sept. 1 interview with CNBC, Clayton said major financial institutions backing spot Bitcoin (BTC) investment vehicles represented a shift in how retail investors could get exposure to crypto. On Aug. 31, the SEC designated a longer period in which it could review spot BTC exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications from BlackRock, WisdomTree, VanEck, Invesco Galaxy, Bitwise, Valkyrie and Fidelity.

Expectations for Progress

The commission has another 45 days upon publication of the notice in the Federal Register to approve, deny or again delay the ETF applications from these seven major firms. Clayton said he expects to see “progress on this going forward.” The SEC can continue to push the deadlines on the applications until March 2024.

Inevitable Approval

“An approval is inevitable,” said Clayton. “The dichotomy between a futures product and cash product can’t go on forever.”

Similar Arguments from U.S. Court of Appeals Circuit Judge

Clayton’s argument echoed that of U.S. Court of Appeals Circuit Judge Neomi Rao, who, along with two other judges, ordered the SEC to review asset manager Grayscale’s application to convert its Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a spot Bitcoin ETF. Rao said that the SEC had already approved BTC futures ETFs and suggested Grayscale’s offering was “materially similar.”

Upcoming Deadlines

The ETF application delays came in quick succession on Aug. 31, before the Labor Day holiday weekend in the United States. The next deadline for major spot BTC applications under review falls on Oct. 7, when the commission is expected to make an announcement about the offering from fund manager Global X.

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