US lawmakers call on SEC chair Gensler to approve a spot bitcoin ETF

U.S. Representatives Tom Emmer and Darren Soto are calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission and its chair, Gary Gensler, to approve a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund.

In a letter released Wednesday, Emmer and Soto questioned why the SEC cleared the way for futures-linked bitcoin ETFs but not those that actually hold bitcoin itself. The historic listing of the ProShares bitcoin ETF, which took place last month, paved the way for several other similar products to list in the U.S. for the first time.

As the two members of Congress note:

"Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allowed trading to commence for two Bitcoin futures exchange-traded funds (ETF) that provide exposure to CME-traded Bitcoin futures. While this is a step forward for millions of Americans who are demanding access to simple ways to invest in Bitcoin, these products are potentially much more volatile than a Bitcoin spot ETF and may impose substantially higher fees on investors due the premium at which Bitcoin futures typically trade, as well as the cost of rolling futures contracts each month."

"We question why, if you are comfortable allowing trading in an ETF based on derivatives contracts, you are not equally or more comfortable allowing trading to commence in ETFs based on spot Bitcoin," the letter continued. "Bitcoin spot ETFs are based directly on the asset, which inherently provides more protection for investors."

The letter's contents are unsurprising, given the source. Both Emmer and Soto are crypto advocates within Congress, having authored legislation that would clarify the scope of regulation around the technology within the U.S. 

"The SEC is in a position to approve Bitcoin futures ETFs, as reflected by the trading of these products, so it should also be in a position to approve Bitcoin spot ETFs," the two concluded.