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SEC’s Chair on Bitcoin ETF: Issues of Crypto Manipulation in Exchanges Must be Addressed


Speaking at the Consensus Invest Conference in New York, SEC incumbent Jay Clayton, who assumed office in May 2017, exclaimed that he isn’t ready to greenlight a Bitcoin ETF.

According to Clayton, he remains worried that cryptocurrency can be too easily stolen or manipulated on exchanges. Those issues need to be addressed before the SEC lets an ETF move forward, he said in some of his most pointed comments about why the agency has rejected recent applications for the products.

According to him, he will only support ETFs—financial products that track assets such as gold or baskets of shares—in which the only risk to investors is related to the value of the underlying asset.

Since most cryptocurrency exchanges don’t use the same monitoring tools as stock exchanges, investors may not get a fair assessment of bitcoin’s price. “What investors expect is that trading in the commodity that underlies that ETF makes sense and is free from the risk of manipulation. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed before I would be comfortable,” he said.

Nonetheless, Clayton indicated with certainty that Bitcoin is not a security, noting that ‘it is designed to be a payment system replacement for sovereign currencies. We’ve determined that doesn’t have the attributes of a security.’

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