Chairman of Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC), Jay Clayton is still concerned about investor protection when it comes to the commission approving a Bitcoin (BTC) Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF). The SEC chairman spoke about crypto in an interview with FOX Business on March 14.
In the interview, Clayton claimed to be neutral toward digital currencies, saying that he is not a spokesperson against the asset. The SEC chairman explained that he is concerned with the potential for manipulation associated with the space, and wants to guarantee investor protection:
“What I’m concerned about at the moment is if it can be reasonably demonstrated that the underlying trading is generally not manipulated, it’s happening on reliable venues with good rules and that custody is something we can feel comfortable about.”
While Clayton declined to comment on any specific Bitcoin ETF application, he still noted that there “may be a case where a Bitcoin ETF could satisfy our rules.” The chairman elaborated:
“I think this technology has and is already demonstrating pretty significant promise, but it’s demonstrating significant promise in the places where it’s consistent with our approach to capital raising in the past.”
Recently, the SEC announced it will soon start the countdown period to approve or disapprove the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF. After withdrawing the ETF application due to the U.S. government shutdown in late January, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) re-submitted the application a week later.
Earlier this week, Jay Clayton confirmed his previous statement that Ethereum (ETH) and similar cryptocurrencies are not securities under U.S. law. However, Clayton stipulated that he meant that a digital asset’s definition as a security can change over time.
What is an ETF and Why is it Important for Cryptocurrency?
An exchange traded fund is an investment fund traded in the same way as equity stocks on stock exchanges. Such a fund incorporates assets in the form of stocks, bonds and commodities. An ETF product is designed to trade as close as possible to the net value of underlying assets.
Many in the cryptocurrency community eagerly await the approval of a Bitcoin-based ETF as they feel that it will result in the broadening of the appeal of Bitcoin as a form of investment. Investment in cryptocurrency right now is complex and has additional risks.
Investors can buy the cryptocurrency directly from cryptocurrency exchanges. However, such exchanges have suffered from hacking on an ongoing basis, with the loss of customers cryptocurrency. Investors have the option to hold their own cryptocurrency but this too comes with risks.
It’s on this basis that an ETF is likely to be much more attractive to those who are enthusiastic about cryptocurrency but want to invest in it via a means that they are familiar and comfortable with.