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Jay Clayton: Progress Is Being Made on a Bitcoin ETF

The path towards a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) hasn’t always been a clear one, and while steps are being taken to ensure things go smoothly, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton says there is still “work left to be done.”

In a recent interview, Clayton comments that “progress is being made” when it comes to pushing a bitcoin ETF forward, though the SEC’s worries haven’t dissipated completely. There are several companies that have tried for a bitcoin or crypto-based ETF over the years, including the Gemini Exchange founded by the Winklevoss Twins in New York. Unfortunately, many of these ETF proposals have been outright rejected.

Among those that have encountered some consideration and “success” is VanEck Solid X, a joint company which initially filed its proposal in early March of 2017. While this company was rejected at first and results were no different during the second submission, things changed the third time around, paying homage to the saying “third time’s the charm.”

After three attempts, VanEck Solid X saw its proposal looked at extensively by the SEC. They posted the ETF for public comment and sought expert industry advice regarding whether to permit the ETF. The proposal garnered positive reviews, which ultimately set the SEC in motion regarding a decision for approval.

However, a choice was set to be made in August of 2018, over one year ago. This decision was postponed several times until recently, the SEC announced that a final one would occur in October of this year. There will be no pushbacks after this; there will be either a “yes” or a “no” answer coming from the agency.

Apparently, one of the big worries of the SEC is, and always has been, price manipulation. Clayton recently issued a statement that reiterated these worries again, explaining:

An even harder question given that they trade on largely unregulated exchanges is how can we be sure that those prices aren’t subject to significant manipulation? People needed to answer these hard questions for us to be comfortable that this was the appropriate kind of product.

He later commented that the SEC’s questions weren’t “trivial,” and thus found it odd to believe that answers were so difficult to come by.

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