Jay Clayton, the former chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has expressed strong confidence that the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF in the U.S. is inevitable. During an interview with CNBC on January 8th, Clayton stated that there is nothing left for the SEC to decide on this matter, signaling a significant shift in the regulatory landscape.
For a decade, the SEC has consistently rejected applications for a spot Bitcoin ETF, citing concerns about market manipulation and fraud. However, Clayton noted that the market dynamics surrounding Bitcoin have substantially improved in recent years. He acknowledged that while issues like wash sales and laddering were prevalent five years ago, the current market conditions are much more favorable for an ETF approval.
Clayton also commended the SEC for its progress in being comfortable with the disclosures provided by firms such as BlackRock and Fidelity regarding Bitcoin ETFs. He highlighted the advancements in infrastructure that now allow for proper custody and security of Bitcoin, making it more accessible to traditional financial market participants.
Beyond the crypto markets, Clayton praised the broader development of blockchain technology, particularly its potential to tokenize and trade real-world assets. He emphasized that this advancement could lead to significant changes across the financial sector, not just in cryptocurrencies.
On the same day, a flurry of amended S-1 and S-3 filings from prospective Bitcoin ETF issuers was submitted to the SEC, revealing the fees they plan to charge upon approval. Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart interpreted this as an indication that the SEC is accelerating its processes for these ETFs. Seyffart, along with his colleague Eric Balchunas, has estimated a 90% chance of a spot Bitcoin ETF approval by January 10th.
Seyffart also indicated in a January 9th post on X (formerly Twitter) that investors should expect further amendments and comments in the coming days. However, he clarified that these developments are unlikely to signal a delay in the approval of the ETFs.