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Gensler Says 'Stay Tuned' on U.S. SEC's Decision on ETH ETF

source-logo  coindesk.com 23 May 2024 15:05, UTC

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler declined on Thursday to preview his agency's decision on ether (ETH) exchange traded funds (ETFs), though he advised observers to "stay tuned."

Though he'd reiterated that the court decision on ETFs had caused his agency to "pivot" in its thinking, when asked by CoinDesk on Thursday about what the agency is preparing to do in response to the specific applications on this much-anticipated crypto decision, he largely demurred.

"I don't have anything on this particular filing," Gensler said outside an Investment Company Institute event in Washington.

"We do it within the law and how the courts interpret the law, and that's what I'm deeply committed to," he said, after having noted on stage at the event that the agency had responded to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision rejecting the SEC's approach toward spot bitcoin (BTC) ETFs earlier this year.

The SEC, after weeks of limited engagement, asked exchanges supporting spot ether ETF applications to refile their 19b-4 forms with universal language earlier this week. Those forms were submitted to the SEC by Tuesday, and the exchanges began publishing them online that night. The SEC also appears to have begun engaging with the would-be issuers themselves, as companies like Fidelity and Grayscale filed updated S-1 forms this week. The SEC has to make a final decision on at least one spot ether ETF application by the end of the day Thursday.

Based on these forms, it appears the SEC is uncomfortable with the idea that ether ETF issuers might stake any assets.

Industry participants previously told CoinDesk that while the SEC's moves this week don't guarantee approval of the ETFs, they make it more likely that the ETFs will be approved.

"[The] DC Circuit took a different view, and we took that into consideration and pivoted," Gensler said on Thursday.

Gensler also reiterated Thursday that his agency would keep working on its opposition to the crypto bill that passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

"We'll continue to engage," he said. "It's just a field where the token operators – without prejudging any one of them – aren't making the disclosures that investors really could benefit from and are required by law."

"We've seen leaders in this field find themselves on a pathway to jail or extradition," he added.

And when asked about Congress seeking to reverse his agency's crypto accounting policy, Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 121 (SAB 121), he argued that the agency meant it as guidance at a time when failing crypto firms were having to treat customer assets the same as their own in bankruptcy.

"The crypto that these companies have said they took as custody actually because part of the bankruptcy estate," Gensler said. "That's what we were addressing back in 2022," he added, saying it was "just" an accounting bulletin.

Read more: SEC's Gensler Going Rogue in Solo Quest to Stop U.S. Crypto Legislation?