SEC Chair Jay Clayton Says Market Closer to First Bitcoin ETF

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton

Is a long-awaited Bitcoin ETF on the horizon?

Based on a CNBC interview of SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, that seems to be the case. “The short answer is yes,” he said, responding to a question about whether the markets were closer to seeing the first Bitcoin ETF.

He followed up that answer by restating the original concerns. “How do we know that we can custody and have a hold of these crypto assets? That’s a key question. And an even harder question, given that they trade on largely unregulated exchanges, is how can we sure that those prices aren’t subject to significant manipulation,” he said and added that “progress is being made” on those questions.

Although he has appeared at industry conferences, chairman Clayton has been famously critical of the crypto industry’s workings. Previously, he said that most tokens advertised in initial coin offerings (ICOs) were unregistered securities. Under his leadership, the federal agency cracked down on crypto offerings, leading to a chill in the offerings market. Despite the introduction of Bitcoin futures at CBOE and CME in November 2017, the SEC held off on approving a Bitcoin ETF and detailed its concerns in a letter.

Chairman Clayton’s comments come during a time of interesting developments for the crypto ecosystem. Last week, VanEck and SolidX, two firms who have a Bitcoin ETF application pending with the SEC, launched a “Bitcoin ETF-like fund” for institutional investors. The firms have said that shares in their fund will be converted to their equivalent in an ETF, if the SEC approves their application. Bakkt, a futures platform backed by NYSE owners, also announced the launch today of its custody warehouse solution for its Bitcoin futures contracts.