SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce discussed several pending spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in a conversation with CNBC on Oct. 23.
Peirce commented on the fact that major asset managers like BlackRock and Fidelity are now applying for spot Bitcoin ETFs. She said:
“I think [those applications are] a reflection of the fact that that there are a lot of firms that think the public is interested in these kinds of products … obviously we’re seeing more and more interest from firms in these products, and I hear a lot of interest from investors in these kinds of products as well.”
At the same time, Peirce warned investors against “trying to read the tea leaves” and guess how regulator agencies are acting on these applications.
Peirce cannot comment on whether the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is prepared to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF, but she reminded audiences that she personally has been in favor of such an investment vehicle since 2018.
Peirce also acknowledged that recent unfavorable court rulings for the SEC have become “an important factor in the landscape.” A court ruled in August that the SEC must review a Bitcoin ETF application from Grayscale. Recent developments in October indicate that the SEC will not attempt to appeal that outcome.
Peirce comments on broader crypto regulations
Peirce acknowledged that recent events, such as the collapse of FTX and Coinbase’s decision to open a new derivatives division overseas, have not been “positive for crypto’s image.” She said that regulators should consider what they can do differently to make the U.S. a viable location for crypto companies to operate in.
She also suggested that there is a “widening interest” among other lawmakers in creating workable regulations around cryptocurrency, especially in Congress.
Peirce expressed her liberal view on regulation, stating that it is not her role as a regulator to tell investors what assets they can and cannot invest in. She said that the SEC’s role is to write disclosures, not to approve individual investments. Peirce nevertheless encouraged investors to be “skeptical about everything they’re buying.”
Peirce has regularly opposed her agency’s cryptocurrency decisions. In addition to dissenting against individual enforcement actions, she has also criticized broader policy proposals around asset safeguarding and expanded exchange definitions.
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