In a recent interview with CNBC, former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton shared his perspective on the evolving regulatory landscape for Bitcoin ETFs, highlighting the significant changes he has witnessed in market attitudes toward cryptocurrency since his tenure. "This is an offshore, retail, nothing close to what I would say are the core of our financial markets," Clayton said of Bitcoin's early days. He noted that he was initially skeptical of the Bitcoin market due to concerns over practices like wash trading and market manipulation.
However, Clayton acknowledged the impressive strides the industry has made, particularly in the realm of institutional investment.
Companies with major reputations on the market are now embracing Bitcoin, indicative of growing confidence in the cryptocurrency sector's regulatory protections and trading capabilities.
"The fact that we have these institutions that know markets better than anybody and saying we're going to put our reputation behind it, I find that pretty remarkable," Clayton said.On the subject of Bitcoin ETFs, Clayton said he thought it would be "hard to resist" approving a Bitcoin ETF if regulatory safeguards were in place, mirroring those in the futures market. "What the institutions are arguing is those distinctions have gone away and now the spot product is less drag, more efficient for the investors," he explained.
However, Clayton warned that these changes may not happen rapidly, noting the necessary thoroughness of the regulatory process.
Clayton, as the then chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is mostly known for filing a lawsuit against Ripple Labs Inc., its co-founder Chris Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse in December 2020. However, he has since warmed up to crypto by taking an advisory role at crypto firm Fireblocks.