Former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton expressed amazement at the rapid adoption of bitcoin by powerful financial institutions in an interview with CBNC on Monday. Furthermore, Clayton criticized regulatory overreach, and predicted broader mainstream acceptance in the near future.
The former president’s remarks came amid one of the fiercest phases of his successor, Gary Gensler’s war on cryptocurrency. Gensler, whose views are largely aligned with those of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), has led a crackdown on exchanges Ripple and Coinbase. Almost every day brings new twists and turns as cases make their way to court.
As the head of the SEC, Clayton was skeptical
Clayton described a shift in attitudes so rapid that it took him by surprise. Back in 2015 and 2016, cryptocurrencies struck him as an “outside, retail” fad unlikely to be picked up by leading financial firms.
At the time, crypto was “nowhere near what I would say is the core of our financial markets,” he said. Clayton added:
“Back then, if you look at Bitcoin trading, when Bitcoin came out, it looked like stocks. We believe that trading, custody and protection around this market is sufficient that we are ready to put our name on it and offer this product.”
Clayton said the shift in attitudes gave him an “amazing twist”.
He sounded very positive about the growth of the cryptocurrency. However, as the head of the SEC, he was skeptical of Bitcoin. He said studies indicating that about 90% of cryptocurrency market activity was trading well fueled this perception.
But this suspicion did not hold. Not in the face of major market players adding cryptocurrencies to their platforms. Such as BNY Mellon, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs.
“The fact that we are these institutions . . . that say, ‘We’re going to put our reputation behind it, I find that incredible,'” he said.
Finally, Clayton said full regulatory approval for Bitcoin ETFs is just that The reality.
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