Cryptocurrency Regulation

SEC Commissioner: Bitcoin ETF Likely to Be Approved at Some Point

February 8, 2019
Giancarlo Roma


SEC Commissioner: Bitcoin ETF Likely to Be Approved at Some Point

A Bitcoin ETF (exchange traded fund) will likely gain approval from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at some point, according to one of its commissioners. This news comes by way of a forthcoming interview with political journal Congressional Quarterly that was leaked on Twitter on Tuesday.

Robert J. Jackson, Jr., the only Democratic commissioner of the five that oversee the SEC, said that although the SEC has rejected every cryptocurrency-backed ETF to date, it will ultimately approve one.

“Eventually, do I think someone will satisfy the standards we’ve laid out there?” said Jackson of the possibility of approving a crypto ETF, “I hope so, yes, and I think so.” Last week, investment firm VanEck and financial services company SolidX reapplied to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in order to establish a Bitcoin ETF that would trade on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). The application was originally filed in June, then postponed by the SEC in August, then recently withdrawn by the applicants due to the United States government shutdown, only to be refiled last week. The applicants’ argument centers on the notion that Bitcoin is a commodity, just like precious metals (gold and silver, for example) and crude oil, which already have ETFs in the market.

In discussing the ETF application submitted by Gemini co-founders Tyler and Cameron Winkelvoss, submitted in March 2017, Jackson made clear how he seriously he views the approval of a crypto ETF, and what is currently standing in its way.

“I came to this job thinking about my mom and dad,” Jackson said, “Would I have wanted them to be able to buy that ETF? Hell no. Hell no. And I might not be sitting here if my father had, so yeah, I take really seriously putting the American stamp of approval on any investment product and I’m not going to do it until those questions get answered.”

The questions Jackson is referring are those regarding the safety of the Bitcoin market for average, retail investors, both in terms of manipulability and custody of the underlying assets — concerns the industry will clearly have to address before ETF approval is granted.