Cathie Wood says it's Gensler who's 'standing in the way' of spot bitcoin ETFs

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  • Cathie Wood, who leads asset manager Ark Invest, said it’s SEC Chair Gensler who is standing in the way of approving proposed spot bitcoin ETFs, and not necessarily the agency itself.  

Cathie Wood thinks its Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler who's standing in the way of proposed spot bitcoin ETFs, and not necessarily the agency itself. 

Wood, who leads asset manager Ark Invest, said people focused on research that work at the agency are knowledgeable and that the disconnect seems to land with Gensler. She spoke during an interview with Coin Stories podcaster Natalie Brunell that was posted on Monday. 

"For me the disconnect is, they [SEC staff] know so much, and they are so good that I believe this was much more Gary Gensler standing in the way. I don't know for sure because they could never say something like that," Wood said. "I just know from how we have discussed bitcoin with them that they really understand it, and they understand its merits."

Wood is vying for her firm's ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF, which re-filed its application earlier this year. The SEC has rejected two previous attempts by 21Shares and ARK over the years. 

Gensler's 'personal Vietnam'

"Why he allowed a bitcoin futures ETF, which involves counterparty risk, and not a bitcoin ETF, which does not involve counterparty risk, in fact ours would be backed by bitcoin, one-for-one, in cold storage at Coinbase. That's why Grayscale has won its case. It is that argument." Wood continued. "I think Gary Gensler's personal Vietnam is coming around to haunt him. I do think the SEC is moving now."


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Wood added that she didn't expect to the regulator to approve just one fund.

"They will probably approve a group of them," she added.

Pressure has mounted to approve such a product after Grayscale Investments secured a win in August when three judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the SEC had to re-review its bid for a spot bitcoin ETF. The SEC said on Friday that it didn't plan on appealing that ruling, but it's still not clear just what happens next.

Lawmakers pressed Gensler last month to urgently allow for a spot bitcoin ETF following the ruling, arguing a regulated spot bitcoin ETF would increase investor protection by making access to bitcoin more transparent and safer. 

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About Author

Sarah is a reporter at The Block covering policy, regulation and legal happenings. Before, Sarah was a reporter with CQ Legal writing about securities regulation, which is where she first started reporting on crypto. Sarah has also written for The Bond Buyer and American Banker, among other finance-related publications. She graduated from the University of Missouri and earned a degree in print and digital journalism. Sarah is based in Washington D.C., and is an avid coffee lover. You can follow her on Twitter @ForTheWynn.


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