Former SEC chair says spot Bitcoin ETF approval is ‘inevitable’ despite delays

The commission has another 45 days to approve, deny, or delay spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund applications from 7 major firms.

Following the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delaying decisions on several spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds, former commission chair Jay Clayton said he believed approval was still going to happen at some point.

In an Sept. 1 interview with CNBC, Clayton said major financial institutions backing spot Bitcoin (BTC) investment vehicles represented a shift in how retail investors could get exposure to crypto. On Aug. 31, the SEC designated a longer period in which it could review spot BTC exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications from BlackRock, WisdomTree, VanEck, Invesco Galaxy, Bitwise, Valkyrie and Fidelity.

The commission has another 45 days upon publication of the notice in the Federal Register to approve, deny, or again delay the ETF applications from these 7 major firms. According to Clayton, he expects to see “progress on this going forward”. The SEC can continue to push the deadlines on the applications until March 2024.

“An approval is inevitable,” said Clayton. “The dichotomy between a futures product and cash product can’t go on forever.”

Related: Bitwise withdraws Bitcoin and Ether Market Cap ETF application

Clayton’s argument echoed that of U.S. Court of Appeals Circuit Judge Neomi Rao, who along with two other judges ordered the SEC to review asset manager Grayscale’s application to convert its Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a spot Bitcoin ETF. Rao said that the SEC had already approved BTC futures ETFs and suggested Grayscale’s offering was “materially similar”.

The ETF application delays came in quick succession on Aug. 31 before the Labor Day holiday weekend in the United States. The next deadline for major spot BTC applications under review falls on Oct. 7, when the commission is expected make an announcement about the offering from fund manager Global X.

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