Gary Gensler, the current chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has faced criticism for his inconsistent approach to spot Bitcoin products in the past, according to a resurfaced video from 2019. The video, which recently gained attention on social media, features Gensler discussing blockchain regulation at the 2019 MIT Bitcoin Expo. During a fireside chat with SEC commissioner Hester Peirce, Gensler expressed his concerns about the lack of consistency in approving Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
“Bitcoin futures, and I think Ethereum futures and so forth, will exist and Bitcoin ETFs have not and that feels a little inconsistent to me […]It feels a little inconsistent,” Gensler remarked. He also noted that although the laws governing these products may differ, they are quite similar.
Critics on Twitter have seized upon Gensler’s current stance on spot Bitcoin ETFs, highlighting the contrast with his previous comments. Market analyst Zack Voell tweeted, “Gary Gensler says Gary Gensler is wrong,” while another user remarked, “We missed out on chill and normal Gensler.”
To date, the SEC has only approved Bitcoin and Ethereum futures ETFs, rejecting several spot Bitcoin ETF applications. Gensler has been known to delay or push back these applications, citing concerns about market manipulation safeguards. Notably, Gensler’s SEC was sued by asset manager Grayscale after rejecting its bid to convert its existing Bitcoin trust into a spot ETF. The court ruled that the SEC’s rejection was “arbitrary and capricious,” a decision the SEC chose not to appeal.
The inconsistency in Gensler’s approach to spot Bitcoin products has sparked debate within the crypto community. As the chair of the SEC, Gensler’s stance on Bitcoin ETFs and regulations will continue to impact the crypto industry.
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