the Key Takeaways
Jay Clayton, the former chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has reiterated his confidence that the US will, in due course, introduce a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).
During his appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box , Clayton stated his belief that the approval of a potential Bitcoin spot ETF is “inevitable”.
Clayton praised the regulator for its current position, acknowledging it as a significant advancement for the agency to be at ease with Bitcoin ETF disclosures from firms like BlackRock and Fidelity.
He said: “I think approval’s inevitable…and I think there’s nothing left to decide.”
He also noted that, until recently, the necessary infrastructure to adequately custody and secure Bitcoin had not been in place. This had been a key obstacle in making Bitcoin accessible to participants in the traditional financial markets.
Clayton, who was appointed as SEC chair by then-President Donald Trump in 2017, resigned from his position at the end of 2020.
Towards the end of his tenure, Clayton’s SEC filed charges against Ripple , alleging an unregistered securities offering. Subsequently, both Ripple and the SEC achieved partial victories when a judge decided that the programmatic sale of Ripple’s XRP token did not constitute an investment contract.
In October, the SEC also took steps to drop charges against Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and former executive Christian Larsen.
Since leaving the SEC, Clayton has become actively involved in the cryptocurrency sector. In 2021, he joined the advisory board of the crypto custody platform Fireblocks. He has been a prominent figure in discussions regarding crypto regulation. More recently, he has been vocal about the various pending applications for Bitcoin spot ETFs.
During Clayton’s tenure as SEC chair, Grayscale faced challenges in securing approval for its Bitcoin spot ETF. In the mentioned CNBC segment, Clayton appears to acknowledge this shift in his stance regarding the service.
He said : “Five years ago there was wash sales, there was laddering, there was all sorts of things that you wouldn’t want to make available to the general public.”
During Clayton’s time as SEC chair, the commission rejected proposals to launch a Bitcoin ETF.
On January 8, a surge of revised S-1 and S-3 filings from potential Bitcoin ETF issuers was submitted to the SEC. These filings included details about the fees these issuers plan to charge once their products are approved.
Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart interpreted this influx of amended filings as an indication that the SEC is expediting the process for this week. Seyffart and colleague Eric Balchunas assess the likelihood of the SEC approving a spot Bitcoin ETF by January 10 at 90%.
In a January 9 tweet, Seyffart said investors should anticipate additional amendments to the S-1 and S-3 filings in the coming days. This expectation is based on the SEC providing more feedback.
This week, a decision is anticipated on proposed spot Bitcoin ETFs. The SEC has a deadline of January 10 to respond to a Bitcoin ETF proposal from Ark 21Shares. In preparation for a potential decision, issuers have already amended their registration filings, detailing fees and other significant information.
Bitcoin’s value surged past $47,000 on Monday, January 8. It still hovers around that mark at the time of writing (January 9 2024).