Former SEC Official Expects More Bitcoin ETF Approvals

Lisa Bragança said the agency doesn’t want to have just one.

AccessTimeIconOct 18, 2021 at 8:22 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 3:58 p.m. UTC

Lisa Bragança, a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission branch chief, said in an interview on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” on Monday that she expects the SEC will approve more exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

“I’m expecting that the [SEC] will allow additional ETFs to get registered because they don’t want just one, they want customers to have lots of choices,” Bragança said.

On Friday, ProShares got the green light from the SEC to start trading its bitcoin futures ETF on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It is set to begin trading on Tuesday, which would make it the first to do so, a step that the crypto community has long been waiting for.

About 30 other applications are yet to be reviewed, however, and SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has hinted that only futures ETFs will be approved this year.

The move to approve any bitcoin or cryptocurrency-related ETF is a result of his leadership, according to Bragança.

“I don’t think this would have happened if we had another chairman from the old guard,” she said, adding that Gensler seems “far more willing to experiment” than he’s often credited for.

“He’s not trying to cause the SEC to bungee jump with bitcoin, but he is … pushing the agency to learn more and be out of the usual comfort zone,” she said.

Bragança said the watchdog agency still has concerns about whether bitcoin’s price is susceptible to manipulation, the usual reason for delaying decisions on financial vehicles.

But the successful monitoring of the futures market by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and pedigree of institutions eyeing potential ETFs gave the SEC “comfort.”

“This is pretty much the minimum step that the SEC could take […] it shows confidence that the SEC has in these markets,” she said.


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Helene Braun

Helene is a New York-based reporter covering Wall Street, the rise of the spot bitcoin ETFs and crypto exchanges. She is also the co-host of CoinDesk's Markets Daily show. Helene is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program and has appeared on CBS News, YahooFinance and Nasdaq TradeTalks. She holds BTC and ETH.