U.S. House Lawmakers Push SEC’s Gensler to Approve Spot Bitcoin ETF ‘Immediately’

Members of the House Financial Services Committee – two from each party – wrote a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler urging ETF action.

AccessTimeIconSep 26, 2023 at 7:46 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 27, 2023 at 2:39 p.m. UTC
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  • Four members of the House Financial Services Committee – including Rep. Tom Emmer, the majority whip in the House leadership – called on the SEC to move forward to approve ETF applications, and they'll be able to ask him about it at a hearing this week.
  • The industry is waiting for the regulator to act after the SEC lost a court fight over its decision to reject Grayscale's spot bitcoin ETF application.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should listen to the courts and give up efforts to block bitcoin exchange traded funds (ETFs) from regulatory approval, a bipartisan group of lawmakers argued Tuesday in a letter to SEC Chair Gary Gensler.

On the eve of his scheduled appearance before the House Financial Services Committee, four members of that panel sent Gensler a letter contending that a spot bitcoin ETF is “indistinguishable” from the crypto futures ETFs for which the agency has already granted its blessing. Because of that, the agency should sign off on applicants requesting SEC approval, such as Fidelity, BlackRock’s iShares and Grayscale Investments, which shares CoinDesk’s parent company, Digital Currency Group.

“The SEC's current posture is untenable moving forward," said the letter from Reps. Mike Flood (R-Neb.), Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.) and Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.). "Following the Court of Appeals' decision, there is no reason to continue to deny such applications under inconsistent and discriminatory standards."

Last month, a judge in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals' instructed the SEC to rethink its view on these applications. Circuit Judge Neomi Rao wrote that the agency’s rejection in the Grayscale case had been "arbitrary and capricious."

The House lawmakers urged the SEC to approve the outstanding applications “immediately.” Gensler is set to appear in an SEC oversight hearing in that committee on Wednesday, so the members will have a chance to question him on the topic.

A bitcoin ETF could allow investors a much easier way to put money into the cryptocurrency market, because ETFs are designed to be simple to trade in and out of through brokerage accounts.

Emmer, who is a member of the House leadership as majority whip, Flood and Torres are members of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus in the House.

Edited by Bradley Keoun.


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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.

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