In an ironic turn of events, a recently resurfaced video from 2019 has revealed SEC Chairman Gary Gensler criticizing the agency he now heads for its “inconsistent” approach toward spot Bitcoin ETF approvals. The timing of this revelation couldn’t be more keen as debates around the legitimacy and potential of cryptocurrency ETFs reach a fever pitch.
In the 2019 video clip, a pre-SEC Gensler engages in a fireside chat with SEC commissioner Hester Peirce at the MIT Bitcoin Expo. During the conversation, Gensler highlighted the discrepancy in the SEC’s treatment of Bitcoin futures and ETFs. He says, “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.”
Despite the SEC’s apparent comfort with Bitcoin and Ethereum futures ETFs, it has continued to thwart attempts to introduce spot Bitcoin ETFs, arguing that such funds don’t have sufficient protection against market manipulation.
Since 2017, the SEC has rejected multiple spot Bitcoin ETF applications, and Gensler’s tenure has not deviated from this tradition. Under his leadership, the SEC has continued to deny, delay, or push back recent applications.
Grayscale’s asset manager sued the regulatory body for rejecting its application to convert its existing Bitcoin trust into a spot ETF. A court subsequently ruled that the SEC’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious,” although the agency chose not to appeal the verdict.
Market analysts and crypto enthusiasts have taken to social media to highlight the inconsistency between Gensler’s previous and current positions. Zack Voell, a notable market analyst, humorously remarked, “Gary Gensler says Gary Gensler is wrong.”
While regulatory inconsistency remains a significant roadblock, the resurfacing of Gensler’s 2019 statements could bring further scrutiny and perhaps catalyze change in the SEC’s policy approach towards crypto ETFs.
Meanwhile, with 8–10 spot Bitcoin ETF applications currently under review, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has ignited bullish sentiments that the U.S. may soon witness its first-ever approved Bitcoin ETF