Yesterday, Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer posted on his official Twitter profile the response he received from SEC Chairman Gary Gensler regarding the issue of ETFs on spot Bitcoin.
We received a response from SEC Chair Gensler to our 11/3/21 letter regarding BTC spot ETFs. This issue remains a priority for us and we will continue to oversee the SEC in its mission to maintain fair and orderly markets and facilitate capital formation. pic.twitter.com/WbgSDj7o0T
— Tom Emmer (@RepTomEmmer) February 17, 2022
Tom Emmer vs. Gary Gensler on spot Bitcoin ETFs
Emmer comments by saying that this is an issue that remains a priority, and that he and his colleagues will continue to oversee the SEC‘s work in this regard.
The crux of the matter lies in the SEC’s reasons for approving an ETF based on Bitcoin Futures last year, while at the same time rejecting any application for approval of an ETF on spot Bitcoin.
In the letter sent in response to Emmer, Gensler explains that these are two different derivative products to which different rules apply, because the first is based on a regulated financial product (futures contracts), while the second is based on an asset (BTC tokens).
This implies that the agency’s treatment of the two types of ETFs is different, leading to different grounds for approval or rejection.
Gensler himself seems to want to say, between the lines, that he cannot do anything about it, since it is the law that imposes such behaviour on him, and that it is a purely technical-legal question, and not a political one.
In addition, he seems to want to say that he is not particularly passionate about the issue, and that it is not of much interest to him, given how easily he dismisses it. On the other hand, he certainly does not have the power to change laws, whereas in theory parliamentarians do.
US politics against Bitcoin
But the most interesting thing about this affair is probably another.
Until a few years ago, it seemed almost absurd to imagine that US politics would be interested in Bitcoin at this level.
We are talking about a member of Congress complaining to the chairman of the SEC because the government agency that oversees the financial markets is determined not to give Bitcoin the space it deserves. If anyone had thought this even a couple of years ago they would probably have been taken for a fool, or at best a visionary.
Indeed, even today there are those who believe that US politics are so fundamentally opposed to Bitcoin that they want to ban it. Certainly, there are also those that think this way in the multi-faceted US political landscape, but there is a growing number of politicians who appreciate and support Bitcoin, even publicly.
It remains to be seen whether a parliamentary majority in favour of Bitcoin in the US can be formed, but this could still take a while.