Senator Warren: SEC is ‘wrong on the law’ approving bitcoin ETFs

Democrat Elizabeth Warren joins Republicans in commenting on SEC bitcoin ETF decision


US Senator Elizabeth Warren | Paul Boucher/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


After the first day of trading for bitcoin ETFs came to a close, Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., took to X to express her dissent. 

“The [US Securities and Exchange Commission] is wrong on the law and wrong on the policy with respect to the bitcoin ETF decision,” Warren wrote

The comment comes the day after the securities regulator, in a landmark decision, voted to approve 11 new spot bitcoin ETFs. The products raked in more than $4 billion in volume during their debut trading session.

Read more: Bitcoin ETFs surpass $4B in trade volume while BTC’s price falters 

Warren took the SEC’s decision as an opportunity to double-down on her efforts to crack down on the crypto industry. 

“If the SEC is going to let crypto burrow even deeper into our financial system, then it’s more urgent than ever that crypto follow basic anti-money laundering rules,” Warren said. 

Warren’s Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act, reintroduced in October, has now gained the support of 19 Senators, two of whom are Republicans. The bill, criticized by some members of the crypto industry as an effort that would stifle innovation and push companies offshore, was originally introduced last session. 

Warren’s Thursday comments come on the heels of several Republican lawmakers who expressed rare praise for the SEC Wednesday evening after the agency announced the ETFs’ approval. 

“While legislation to provide clarity and certainty for digital assets remains necessary, the steps taken today are a significant improvement over the SEC’s track record of regulation by enforcement,” House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., and digital assets subcommittee head French Hill, R-Ark., wrote in a joint statement on X Wednesday. 

“We are pleased that investors and our markets will finally be afforded greater access to this generational technology,” the Reps. added.  

Among the three commissioners who voted in favor of approving bitcoin ETFs is historic crypto skeptic Chair Gary Gensler. He made it clear that his decision was based more on legal constraints than personal acceptance. 

Read more: Spot bitcoin ETFs surpass $1B in trade volumes after first 30 minutes

“The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that the Commission failed to adequately explain its reasoning in disapproving the listing and trading of Grayscale’s proposed ETP,” Gensler wrote in a statement released Wednesday evening. “Based on these circumstances and those discussed more fully in the approval order, I feel the most sustainable path forward is to approve the listing and trading of these spot bitcoin ETP shares.”

Gensler added that he believes bitcoin is volatile, speculative and a key tool for illicit financial activity. 

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