SEC Chair Gary Gensler Tells CNBC The Commission Is Taking A “New Look” At Spot Bitcoin ETFs

Gary Gensler, the current Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), hinted at a potential shift in the SEC’s perspective regarding spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications during an interview with CNBC.

In the CNBC interview, Gensler disclosed that the SEC is actively reconsidering its approach to spot Bitcoin ETF applications. “And as you might know, we had in the past denied a number of these applications, but the courts here in the District of Columbia weighed in on that,” said Gensler. “And so we’re taking a new look at this based upon those court rulings.”

A spot Bitcoin ETF differs from its futures-based counterpart as it allows investors direct exposure to Bitcoin without relying on futures contracts. This distinction could potentially facilitate easier access to BTC for traditional investors seeking exposure.

The SEC has historically maintained a negative approach towards approving spot Bitcoin ETFs due to concerns surrounding market manipulation, investor protection, and regulatory compliance. Gensler’s acknowledgment of the SEC’s reassessment suggests a willingness to explore and potentially embrace approving a spot Bitcoin ETF, marking a possible shift in the regulatory landscape.

However, specific details regarding the potential timeline or criteria for approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs remain undisclosed as the SEC continues its thorough review process. Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart noted at the beginning of December that the next window of potential ETF approvals is January 5-10, 2024. 

“Really this means that any potential approval orders are going to come on either Monday Jan 8, Tuesday Jan 9, or Wednesday Jan 10,” Seyffart explained further. “Mark your calendars people.”

As the SEC reevaluates its stance, the Bitcoin industry eagerly awaits further developments regarding the potential approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs, which could significantly impact broader adoption and acceptance of BTC among institutional and retail investors.