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Spot Bitcoin ETF Nears Green Light: Former SEC Chief Clayton Predicts Approval

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • Former chairman of the SEC, Jay Clayton, predicts that there will be an imminent approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF.
  • Clayton clarified that Bitcoin isn't a security, and its ETF approval is inevitable due to high demand from investors.
  • Many analysts expect a spot Bitcoin ETF launch in the US this year, following a recent court ruling limiting the SEC.
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The former chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jay Clayton, has shown optimism regarding the imminent approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF. In a recent interaction with CNBC, Clayton explained that the deferral of the applications and the subsequent time extension aligns with the time set for action in the DC Circuit.

Recently, the watchdog delayed its decision for seven contenders looking to launch a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the US.

Former SEC Chair Optimistic on Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval

Jay Clayton, who formerly held the top post with the securities agency, is not surprised by the SEC delay. However, he predicts a spot ETF could soon make a debut.

He told CNBC,

“I’m not surprised. The deferral of the applications and the additional time period as a result of that deferral doesn’t line up perfectly, but it lines up pretty well with the time for action in the DC Circuit on the DC circuit’s action to say your reasoning for not approving a spot, Bitcoin ETF is inadequate. So we now have two periods of time that are almost coterminous for the SEC to take its next action.”

On August 31, the SEC confirmed through seven filings that it needed an extended period to study the suggested rule change.

Estimate Deadlines for Spot Bitcoin ETF Applications. Source: SEC
Estimate Deadlines for Spot Bitcoin ETF Applications. Source: SEC

Clayton added insight into this delay, saying,

“There’s a roughly 45-day time period, both in the DC Circuit and add on the deferral of these applications in the relative scheme of things.”

That said, Clayton also shed light on the SEC’s challenges. He noted that the Commission grapples with distinguishing between securities offerings and trades and their non-security counterparts.

Read more: How To Trade Bitcoin Futures and Options Like a Pro

Things Are Looking Up

Underscoring the transparency of Bitcoin’s status, Clayton said,

“It is clear that Bitcoin is not a security. It is clear that Bitcoin is something that retail investors want access to, institutional investors want access to, and, importantly, some of our most trusted providers who are fiduciaries or have duties of best interest want to provide this product to the retail public.”

Therefore, he infers that a Bitcoin ETF approval is inevitable.

Meanwhile, legal expert Bill Morgan argued that the SEC could clash with the entirety of crypto, sparing two tokens.

Morgan noted,

“The SEC wants a death struggle with all of crypto except Bitcoin and maybe Ethereum. It won’t settle with Ripple or Coinbase.”

Two seasoned Bloomberg analysts also recently expressed heightened confidence in the possibility of green-lighting spot Bitcoin ETFs. They predict a launch in the US this year. They cited the recent court court ruling that leaves the SEC with limited reasons to resist approval.

The Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has approved Grayscale Investments’ plea to reconsider an SEC order. This is a win for Grayscale, especially considering its prior bid. It wanted to convert its GBTC closed-end fund into an ETF in October 2021, which was hampered by the SEC.

However, this ruling positions Grayscale to recommence its conversion efforts.

Top crypto platforms in the US | February 2024

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Shraddha Sharma
Shraddha is an India-based journalist who worked in business and financial news before diving into the crypto space. As an investment enthusiast, she has also has a keen interest in understanding crypto from a personal finance standpoint.
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