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Gary Gensler’s Critique Reflects Old vs. New DNA Clash in Crypto

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently approved several Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) in a watershed moment for the crypto industry.

However, the enthusiasm surrounding this milestone was dampened by the critical stance taken by SEC Chair Gary Gensler towards Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general.

Cathie Wood Reacts to Gensler’s Comment

This drew surprise and criticism from figures within the industry, including Cathie Wood of Ark Investment Management LLC. Wood, in a Bloomberg Radio interview, expressed her disappointment at the SEC boss’ negative remarks, highlighting that such skepticism is typical in an industry of disruptive innovation.

“He just denigrated the whole crypto space. I couldn’t believe it. This is par for the course in disruptive innovation.”

Wood added,

“It’s the old DNA basically bashing the new DNA. There are so many people who are curious out there.”

The SEC has approved 11 Bitcoin ETFs in the United States across domestic securities exchanges such as the NYSE, Nasdaq, and CBOE. This is expected to provide an opportunity for numerous investors who prefer not to engage in the additional processes associated with directly purchasing Bitcoin to enter the cryptocurrency market.

Cathie Wood’s ARK’s spot Bitcoin ETF – dubbed ARK 21Shares – developed in collaboration with Swiss firm 21Shares, is one of many proposals approved by the regulators. In addition to Ark Invest/21Shares, proposals by Grayscale, Bitwise, Hashdex, BlackRock, Valkyrie, Invesco/Galaxy, VanEck, WisdomTree, Fidelity, and Franklin Templeton also scored wins.

Despite the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs through a narrow 3-2 vote by SEC commissioners, Gensler restated that the agency does not endorse digital assets. This decision followed expectations of product approval, driven in part by a legal setback the SEC faced in a related case the previous year.

‘End Of An Unnecessary, But Consequential, Saga’

SEC Commissioner Hester Pierce issued her statement on the SEC’s decision and described the approval of 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs as the conclusion of an unnecessary yet significant saga.

A longtime crypto advocate nicknamed “Crypto Mom” by fans emphasized that the first application for a spot Bitcoin ETF was submitted over a decade ago in the United States.

She further pointed out that the regulator’s previous inaction had compelled retail investors to resort to less efficient methods for gaining exposure to Bitcoin in the securities markets. Pierce criticized the SEC for providing a feeble explanation for its change of stance instead of acknowledging any past shortcomings.

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