Industry Reacts to Bitcoin ETF Approval Amid Gary Gensler Surprise Twist

By Aaron Feuerstein January 11, 2024 In Bitcoin, ETFs, SEC
  • Gary Gensler played an unexpected role in the approval of the United States’ first Spot Bitcoin ETFs, marking a potential shift in his stance on crypto and tipping the SEC’s decision in favour of Bitcoin.
  • The approval has led to lower costs than buying directly on exchanges like Coinbase, sparking industry enthusiasm, as evidenced by Scott Melker’s intent to buy every ETF for ‘the culture.’
  • Hester Pierce criticised her own agency for its delayed and reluctant approval of the Spot Bitcoin ETFs, highlighting a judicial rebuke as the primary catalyst for the decision.

From Villain to Hero?

Finally! The United States has its own Spot Bitcoin ETFs – and it only took a decade to get approval. It was a long and winding road to get here but after all the roadblocks it is finally over. In a surprise twist though, the chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, a staunch crypto critic (although, he has not always been that way), played a pivotal role in this all.

As Fox Business reporter Eleanor Terrett reported Gensler was the one who tipped the scales. Yes, it comes as a surprise to many but if Gary Gensler had decided differently the ETF would (again) not have happened. Only Democratic SEC Commissioners Crenshaw and Lizárraga voted “not approved.”

Source: Eleanor Terrett/ X

Never mind though that the approval doesn’t come entirely voluntary as the chair explained in a statement, saying the SEC’s hand had been practically forced by the courts. Gensler also made it clear that in no way does the SEC endorse Bitcoin.

Industry Reacts to approval

The Twitter account of RichQuack pointed out that it’s now cheaper to buy a Bitcoin ETF than buying the asset directly on an exchange like Coinbase. This comes after the 11 asset managers engaged in a bidding war over the lowest possible fees.

Source: Bloomberg Intelligence/ RichQuack/ X

While crypto natives undoubtedly can buy Bitcoin (BTC), and any crypto asset for that matter, on centralised and decentralised exchanges, ‘The Wolf Of All Streets’ Scott Melker, said what probably many in the industry think. In light of the lengthy and challenging process to list these ETFs, industry figures are demonstrating their support through action; notably, Melker has expressed his enthusiasm by committing to purchase every single ETF, emphasising the element of ‘culture’ in his decision.

Commissioner Criticises Own Agency

Hester Pierce, a SEC Commissioner known for her criticism of Chair Gensler, issued a statement following the approval where she lamented the prolonged time it took the agency to approve the ETFs and criticised the continuing reluctance and prejudice within the agency.

The only material change since we last denied a similar application was judicial rebuke. We squandered a decade of opportunities to do our job. Today’s order does not undo the many harms created by the disparate treatment of spot bitcoin products.

Hester Pierce, SEC Commissioner

Ripple Chief Legal Officer Stuart Alderoty agreed with Pierce, stating the approval was long overdue and showed the distrust of the public in the SEC.

And last but not least, investing legend Jim Cramer could not help himself and chime in, jinxing it for everyone else – well, thanks Cramer.

Aaron Feuerstein

Aaron Feuerstein

Aaron Feuerstein is a freelance writer based in Melbourne. His focus is on decentralised finance and the regulatory space surrounding blockchain. He holds a Master's in Accounting. When he is not studying the latest legal case, he enjoys his time as a modest but eager hobby cook.

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