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Gary Gensler's Shifting Stance on Bitcoin ETFs: A Look Back and the Current Landscape

2019 video resurfaces showing Gary Gensler's contrasting views on Bitcoin spot products and current SEC stance.

Mon, 30 Oct 2023, 16:04 pm UTC

The recent surfacing of a video from 2019 has thrust Gary Gensler, the current chief of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), into the spotlight. The footage captures a pre-SEC Gensler engaging in a discussion about blockchain regulation at the MIT Bitcoin Expo. Joining him in this conversation was Hester Peirce, Commissioner of the SEC.

During the discussion, Gensler expressed bewilderment regarding the SEC's stance towards certain Bitcoin products. He pointed out that while Bitcoin futures were available, Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) had not yet been approved. This inconsistency raised questions, particularly given the similarities in the applicable laws.

However, Gensler's current views on spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) appear to differ from his past sentiments. This shift has not gone unnoticed by the cryptocurrency community, especially on social media platforms like Twitter. Market analyst Zack Voell humorously commented on Gensler's change of stance, remarking that the past version of Gensler contradicts the present one. Another user lamented the apparent evolution in Gensler's position over the years.

Historically, the SEC has been rejecting applications for spot Bitcoin ETFs since 2017. This trend has persisted under Gensler's leadership, with concerns raised over the vulnerability of such funds to market manipulation.

The SEC's approach under Gensler's direction has not been without controversy. Asset manager Grayscale found itself at odds with the regulator after its request to convert its existing Bitcoin trust into a spot ETF was denied. The resulting legal battle resulted in a ruling in favor of Grayscale, with the court deeming the SEC's decision groundless. The SEC chose not to challenge this verdict.

It is noteworthy that Gensler's previous remarks and the recent actions of the SEC align with a broader SEC investigation into cryptocurrencies. This ongoing scrutiny appears to have strengthened the determination of crypto firms to defend themselves against any allegations directed their way.

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