Gensler “Looks Forward” to Reviewing Bitcoin Futures ETF Filings

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  • Gary Gensler has restated his preference for a futures-based Bitcoin ETF
  • Gensler told the Future of Asset Management North America Conference that a futures-based Bitcoin ETF was easier to regulate than a spot-based one
  • Bitcoin supporters are not happy that the ETF would track Bitcoin futures rather than the Bitcoin price

Gary Gensler, the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has said that he is “looking forward” to his staff’s review of Bitcoin ETFs based on futures contracts, further hinting that a futures-based ETF could be coming later this year. In prepared remarks for the Financial Times’ Future of Asset Management North America Conference, Gensler said that the laws governing futures ETFs offer more investor protection than other types and are therefore more attractive for the commission, echoing statements he made in August.

Gensler Prefers Futures-based Bitcoin ETF

A Bitcoin ETF has long been the holy grail since the Winklevoss twins applied for the first one back in 2013, but every one has been rejected so far by the SEC. All these applications have been spot-based whereas a raft of new futures-based ETFs have been filed in 2020 and 2021 which follow a different set of regulatory rules that have a much greater chance of succeeding.

Gensler acknowledged as much in his prepared remarks, noting that the 1940 law governing such a filing provides “significant investor protection” for mutual funds and ETFs compared to the spot-based Bitcoin ETFs which are more open to volatility.

Bitcoin Supporters Criticize Non-spot ETF

Gensler has been famously anti-crypto in many respects since taking the chairmanship of the SEC in January this year, but it seems that Bitcoin futures is one area he is comfortable in pushing. Gensler’s first comments on the subject came last month when he said he would be in favor of an ETF focused exclusively on Bitcoin futures, forms of Bitcoin investment that Matthew Sigel, head of digital assets research at VanEck, another Bitcoin ETF applicant, labelled “substandard vehicles” due to their additional complexities and higher costs.