Gary Gensler Voted to Approve Bitcoin ETFs, Despite Public Criticism

Three out of five committee members approved the various filings that gave the green light for the first-ever spot bitcoin ETFs to be offered in the U.S.

AccessTimeIconJan 11, 2024 at 11:02 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 7:44 p.m. UTC

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Gary Gensler was among three of the five committee members who approved the filings that made the first-ever spot bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) a reality.

A commission votes notice on the SEC site shows Gensler, along with commissioners Hester Peirce and Mark Uyeda, were the three members who approved the filings. Commissioners Caroline Crenshaw and Jaime Lizárraga voted against the plans.

While Peirce is a known backer of the cryptocurrency industry, Gensler has remained publicly dismissive and skeptical of the market, citing customer protection and fraud as key risks that plague the industry.

Commissioner votes. (Securities and Exchange Commission)

Gensler’s first comments after the Wednesday approvals reinforced the SEC’s negative stance on bitcoin, stating that the regulator’s loss in court over rejecting Grayscale’s in 2022 left it with no option but to approve over 12 bitcoin ETFs.

“We did not approve or endorse bitcoin,” Gensler said. “Investors should remain cautious about the myriad risks associated with bitcoin and products whose value is tied to crypto.”

In another statement, Crenshaw, who disapproved of the filings, said the decision put “us on a wayward path that could further sacrifice investor protection.”

Approved providers include financial giants BlackRock (BLK) and Fidelity, while crypto native fund Grayscale’s popular Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) has been uplisted as an ETF as well. Fees on these products range from zero for the first few months (at ARK, Bitwise and Invesco) to as much as 1.5% (at Grayscale).

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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