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Pressure on SEC Chair Rises as Even WSJ Accuses Gensler of ‘Holding Investors Hostage’ with Bitcoin ETF Stance

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Gary Gensler. Source: A video screenshot, Youtube/U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission


The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler is “taking investors hostage” with his insistence to deny spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded products (ETPs) and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to launch in the US, the influential Wall Street Journal said in its editorial piece.

Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board writes that they are “agnostic on crypto, including bitcoin,” but that investors still should be allowed to “invest at their own risk.”

“Crypto investors have taken big losses recently, but the market is evolving and financial firms want to serve investors who like the innovation,” the Editorial Board wrote.

The piece further argued that the existence of spot Bitcoin ETPs and ETFs could reduce volatility and deepen liquidity in the Bitcoin market. This is likely because these funds avoid the potential for hacks and the loss of private keys, which would help bring in more institutional investors.

It added that concerns raised by the SEC that the BTC market is vulnerable to manipulation are likely exaggerated. “[…] the USD 390bn bitcoin market is the deepest and most mature of all cryptocurrencies. It would be hard for an investor to game,” the authors said.

“Crypto markets can resemble the Wild West. But this is no reason to reject spot bitcoin ETPs, which would be tightly regulated by the SEC. Mr. Gensler’s blockade is counter-productive if his aim is to protect investors,” the editorial piece concluded by saying.

The notable pro-Bitcoin stance from the Wall Street Journal – one of the world’s most influential business newspapers – was highlighted by Anthony Scaramucci, crypto investor and founder of investment management firm Skybridge:

The comment from the influential newspaper comes after the crypto-focused asset manager Grayscale was recently denied to convert its existing Grayscale Bitcoin Trust to a spot ETF, a move long planned by the asset manager. Following the rejection, Grayscale went on to sue the SEC, while calling the agency’s decision “arbitrary” and “discriminatory.”

The SEC has already allowed several bitcoin futures-based ETFs to launch, even those these are arguably more complex and expensive products for investors. Additionally, several spot-based Bitcoin ETFs and ETPs are already traded in Europe, Canada, and Australia.
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