Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler said he did not want to “prejudge” the future of spot Bitcoin ETFs when asked whether the SEC would take action on the matter soon.
Speaking at a Healthy Markets Association conference on Wednesday, Gensler reiterated his position that Bitcoin is a commodity, but also expressed continued concern about the overall health of the crypto industry.
“It’s kind of common sense against the exaggerations in this area,” Gensler said. “This area is rife with bad actors, fraud, manipulation and money laundering.”
Several asset managers, including BlackRock and Fidelity, have been patiently waiting for the SEC to approve the first Bitcoin ETF locally. The companies have submitted several applications in recent months, but all have been delayed.
When asked about Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Rostin Behnam’s comments regarding the need for additional powers for the derivatives regulator to oversee cryptocurrencies, Gensler explained his support for granting additional powers to the CFTC, particularly related to Bitcoin.
Gensler has previously called the agency’s testing method a “best practice.”
“If an asset manager wants to take something public, those exchange-traded products must be registered with the SEC and they go through a process similar to an initial public offering,” Gensler said in a .
“So it’s really the work of our corporate finance department that gives us feedback and of course our trading and markets department looks at the submissions,” he continued. “This is a proven process that goes back decades. The SEC staff, called the Disclosure Review Team, responds and provides feedback to potential issuers.”
On Tuesday, the SEC began new discussions with representatives from Invesco and BlackRock to explore possible strategies to address concerns related to “balance sheet impacts and risks.” The SEC also convened meetings with Grayscale and BlackRock last week, according to a Memo released by the regulator.
Gensler, a former chairman of the CFTC, has previously claimed that numerous cryptocurrencies should be classified as securities.
During the conference, he also referenced a previous speech in which he compared the lack of compliance in the crypto industry to conditions in the 1920s, a time before the introduction of federal securities laws.
“That was meant kindly,” he remarked Wednesday.