US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler’s recent approval of Bitcoin ETFs has stirred up controversy as he simultaneously voiced criticism and unfounded claims against Bitcoin and the broader crypto industry.
In a CNBC interview, Gensler made statements that raised eyebrows among industry participants.
Bitcoin ETFs Approval Fails To Shift Genler’s Stance On Crypto
While acknowledging the approval of the ETFs, Gensler emphasized that the SEC does not endorse or approve Bitcoin itself. The SEC chair referred to Bitcoin as a “speculative and volatile asset”, highlighting its alleged use for illicit activities and money laundering.
Gensler dismissed the notion that Bitcoin can serve as a store of value or a widely accepted payment method, implying that its primary utility lies in illicit transactions.
Interestingly, one of the CNBC interviewers, Joe Kernen, challenged Gensler’s claims. Kernen pointed out that, in comparison to the 20,000 units of dollars used for money laundering, only 33 units of Bitcoin were associated with illicit activities.
Kernen also highlighted Bitcoin’s robustness, comparing it to gold and its longstanding use as a monetary asset. He emphasized that the Bitcoin blockchain has operated flawlessly for trillions of transactions, underscoring its reliability.
Gensler, however, largely sidestepped Kernen’s remarks and continued his critique of Bitcoin. The SEC chair expressed concern about the centralization that has occurred in the Bitcoin market, despite its initial vision of decentralization.
Gensler argued that the approval of Bitcoin ETFs has contributed to this centralization by aligning the cryptocurrency with traditional financial systems, differing from the initial mission of Satoshi Nakamoto.
SEC Chair Casts Doubt On Ethereum ETF Possibility
In response to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s criticism of the SEC’s decision to approve Bitcoin ETFs, Gensler defended the agency’s actions, stating that he respects the law and believes that approving the ETFs was the correct path forward.
Regarding the possibility of an Ethereum ETF, Gensler expressed skepticism. He labeled Ethereum as a security, in contrast to Bitcoin, which he deemed a non-security token.
Overall, SEC Chair Gensler’s mixed messaging, approving Bitcoin ETFs while simultaneously criticizing the cryptocurrency, has sparked debate and confusion within the crypto community.
As the industry continues to evolve, the implications of these contradictory statements and the SEC’s regulatory approach will be closely scrutinized.
At present, the price of Bitcoin stands at $43,500, representing a decrease of nearly 7% over the past 24 hours, coinciding with the commencement of ETF trading.
The long-term effects of these index funds on the price of the largest cryptocurrency are yet to be determined. It remains to be seen how the introduction of these ETFs will impact Bitcoin’s value over time.
Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com