President Donald Trump Appoints Pro-Crypto SEC Commissioner: Is a Bitcoin ETF Approval Imminent?
Trump Just Appointed a Pro-Crypto SEC Commissioner, Paving the Way for Bitcoin ETF Approval Possibility?
Bitcoin ETF approval took another step towards certainty today when US President Donald Trump appointed a pro-crypto SEC commissioner. The appointment shifts the voting balance in favor of bitcoin ETF approval.
The appointment of Republican Elad Roisman was announced this past weekend. It’s the fourth SEC appointment for President Trump.
One of Trump’s previous SEC commissioner appointees, Hester Peirce, has made a name as “CryptoMom” for adopting a pro-bitcoin ETF stance. SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce doesn’t directly approve or disapprove of cryptocurrencies, but she does feel that a bitcoin ETF should be approved by the SEC. Peirce famously dissented from her colleagues earlier this summer when the SEC denied an ETF proposal from the Winklevoss twins.
Trump’s latest appointee, Elad Roisman, is also seen as being pro-crypto. In fact, he has already signaled his intentions to focus the SEC’s legislative agenda on digital currency regulations.
Back in July, for example, Elad Roisman said the following:
“…the SEC must examine and re-examine its rules, regulations and guidelines to ensure that they are still working as intended to accomplish the SEC’s mission. This is most recently manifested in areas such as data protection and cybersecurity, as well as the emergence of new investments and technologies such as initial coin offerings and blockchain.”
Roisman also emphasized the importance for the SEC to be fair and transparent when approaching the challenges of regulating a nascent industry like crypto:
“It is essential that the SEC approach these new challenges in a fair and transparent manner, provide clarity and certainty to the markets and investors, and enforce the laws and regulations that hold market participants accountable.”
This Could Turn the Tide in Favor of Bitcoin ETF Approval
The SEC has five Commissioners. Commissioners are appointed by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate. Each Commissioner’s term lasts five years, and terms are staggered so that one Commissioner’s term ends on June 5 of each year. The Chairman and Commissioners, however, may continue to serve approximately 1.5 years after terms expire if a replacement is not found.
The SEC is also designed to be as politically neutral as possible: to ensure the SEC remains non-partisan, no more than three Commissioners may belong to the same political party. One Commissioner is also chosen as Chairman to serve as the leader of the SEC.
Today, the SEC is run by Jay Clayton (Chairman), Kara M. Stein (Commissioner), Robert J. Jackson Jr. (Commissioner), Hester M. Peirce (Commissioner), and Elad L. Roisman (Commissioner).
Trump has appointed three SEC Commissioners thus far, including Robert J. Jackson Jr., Hester M. Peirce, and Elad L. Roisman.
Now, with this latest appointment, some believe that the SEC’s five-person Commissioner panel will shift its votes in favor of bitcoin ETF approval.
It’s unclear, however, how Roisman feels about a bitcoin ETF. He has previously issued statements supporting better legislation in the crypto and blockchain space, but he has not specifically endorsed or disapproved of a bitcoin ETF.
Could the SEC Approve a Bitcoin ETF Within the Next 6 Months?
There’s a growing chance that the SEC will approve a bitcoin ETF within the next six months. In mid-July, the SEC rejected the application from Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss for a bitcoin ETF. Then, in August, the SEC rejected nine different bitcoin ETFs proposed by three groups, including ProShares, GraniteShares, and Direxion. In an unexpected move, the SEC temporarily stayed the decision on those bitcoin ETFs just 24 hours later, and the ETFs continue to move through the regulatory system.
The SEC is also exploring the possibility of approving or denying the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust ETF, which is making its way through the regulatory system for approval in late 2018 or early 2019.
Within the next few months, we could have the world’s first bitcoin ETF approval from the SEC. Or, the SEC could do what it has done every previous time and reject every bitcoin ETF that has come across its desk.
With new SEC commissioner Elad Roisman, it’s possible that the SEC is much more likely to approve a bitcoin ETF. It appears that Roisman will join Hester Peirce as two bitcoin ETF supporters on the board – although again, it’s not clear in which direction Roisman would vote on a bitcoin ETF.