Cryptocurrency ETFs could soon be a reality now that regulators are actively studying them, SEC chair Jay Clayton says

  • Cryptocurrency exchange-traded-funds are being actively considered by US regulators, the Financial Times reported chairman Jay Clayton saying at a conference.
  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission is working with other financial agencies to establish whose jurisdiction various crypto-products would fall under, he said.
  • “Our door is wide open — if you want to tokenise the ETF product in a way that adds efficiency, we want to meet with you and we want to facilitate that. Of course you have to register it and do what you would do with any other ETF,” the chairman said.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is working on regulations that may one day authorize the use of cryptocurrency exchange-traded-funds, the FT reported chairman Jay Clayton saying at a conference.

The securities regulator is working with other financial agencies like the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to establish how each body would regulate different crypto-products, Clayton said at the discussion on “Innovation & Regulation of Digital Assets.”

Clayton is attempting to shed the SEC‘s image of being rigid about cryptocurrencies. The regulator approved its first securities registration for a company issuing crypto-tokens through a public offering in August this year.Advertisement


“Our door is wide open — if you want to tokenise the ETF product in a way that adds efficiency, we want to meet with you and we want to facilitate that. Of course, you have to register it and do what you would do with any other ETF,” Clayton said.

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Token contracts allow digital assets to represent a single security, like stocks, funds, or ETFs. Firms like Franklin Templeton and WisdomTree have already begun exploring this concept, according to the FT.

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Clayton said some of the initial crypto pioneers failed to consider investor protection and market efficiency.

“One of the problems we’ve had was [that] we got off on the wrong foot in this innovation,” he said, adding that there were still members of the financial communties that favored a more unregulated approach.
The SEC has previously had to issue cease-and-desist orders to companies for conducting unregistered security offerings in the form of initial-coin-offerings (ICOs), a method of funding via cryptocurrencies.Advertisement


“What we don’t like is when someone says: ‘you know, the function is payments, so you really ought to look past the securities law stuff’,” Clayton said. “I can’t do that.”

“Don’t tell us it’s a payment system when it’s actually a financing vehicle.”

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