The Securities and Exchange Commission has again rejected spot bitcoin ETF applications from Grayscale, Bitwise, SkyBridge and others. What will it take for the SEC to approve one of these applications?
In an effort to get an answer, I interviewed SEC Commissioner Caroline Crenshaw on my radio show and podcast “The Truth About Your Future.”
Here are edited highlights of that conversation:
RIC EDELMAN: You’ve written and spoken about crypto for as long as you’ve been an SEC commissioner, so how would you describe yourself? Pro-crypto, anti-crypto, something in between?
CAROLINE CRENSHAW: I am extremely supportive of blockchain technology’s potential and really have been incredibly impressed by the level of research and activity that has been dedicated to its development. I think there’s a lot of potential in that area. I think there’s a lot of ways that we can make improvements to the securities industry.
But as someone who took an oath to protect investors and to ensure fair and efficient markets, I certainly do have some questions. The SEC and investors need significantly more information on those aspects of crypto, of DeFi, of NFTs that seem to involve an investor exchanging something of value with the expectation of a financial return based on someone else’s effort. Those types of offerings may fall within the SEC’s jurisdiction.
Crypto is a global asset trading worldwide 24/7. If they’re trading outside the U.S., the SEC clearly could struggle to claim jurisdiction. Should investors only engage with companies that are registered with the SEC?
I think that’s critically important. I think registration serves absolutely fundamental aspects of our market. Without that, it’s very hard to hold people accountable. It also sets a baseline of disclosures, and it creates an institutional discipline to focus on compliance and just a continuing recognition that investors have specific rights that must be respected.
Some projects do voluntarily disclose info on their websites and social media on the blockchain itself. But you think that’s not enough?