In a recent conversation with CNBC, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce discussed the growing interest in spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) among major asset managers such as BlackRock and Fidelity. Peirce noted that the increase in applications for these types of products is a reflection of the public’s interest in them, as well as the interest expressed by investors.
However, Peirce also cautioned investors against trying to predict how regulatory agencies like the SEC will respond to these applications. While she couldn’t comment on whether the SEC is prepared to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF, she did mention that she has personally been in favor of such an investment vehicle since 2018.
Peirce also acknowledged the impact of recent court rulings on the SEC’s stance towards Bitcoin ETFs. In August, a court ruled that the SEC must review a Bitcoin ETF application from Grayscale. Recent developments suggest that the SEC will not appeal this ruling, which adds another dimension to the regulatory landscape.
Moving on to the broader topic of cryptocurrency regulations, Peirce acknowledged that recent events, such as the FTX collapse and Coinbase’s decision to establish a derivatives division overseas, have had a negative impact on the image of the crypto industry. She stressed the need for regulators to rethink their approach and consider measures that would make the US a favorable location for crypto companies to operate.
Peirce also highlighted a growing interest among lawmakers in developing workable regulations for cryptocurrencies, particularly in Congress. She expressed her liberal view on regulation, stating that it is not her role as a regulator to dictate what assets investors can or cannot invest in. Instead, she believes the SEC’s role is to provide necessary disclosures, allowing investors to make informed decisions. However, Peirce did urge investors to approach their investments with skepticism and to thoroughly research everything they are buying.
It’s worth noting that Peirce has consistently opposed certain cryptocurrency decisions made by the SEC. In addition to expressing her dissent towards individual enforcement actions, she has also criticized broader policy proposals related to asset safeguarding and expanded exchange definitions.
Overall, Peirce’s comments reflect the evolving landscape of Bitcoin ETFs and the increasing interest from investors. While the future of spot Bitcoin ETFs remains uncertain, Peirce’s longstanding support for such investment vehicles suggests that they may eventually gain regulatory approval.